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Intellectual Property Rights

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers.

Trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises. CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program.

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CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.

Intellectual Property Rights Fiscal Year 2018 Seizure Statistics

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized 33,810 shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.4 billion from over $1.2 billion in FY 2017.  In FY 2018, ICE-HSI arrested 381 individuals, obtained 296 indictments, and received 260 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.

Wearing apparel and accessories once again topped the list for number of seizures with 6,098, representing 18 percent of all IPR seizures.  Watches and jewelry continued as the top product seized by total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $618 million, representing 44 percent of the total.  Handbags and wallets were second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million. 

CBP and HSI seized 213 shipments of computer networking equipment affixed with counterfeit trademarks with a total MSRP value of nearly $15.5 million.  This is a 25 percent increase in the number of seizures and a 112 percent increase in MSRP value over FY 2017.  The networking equipment seizures violated a total of seven trademarks recorded with CBP and took place in 21 ports around the country.

The ICE-led National IPR Coordination Center (IPR Center), along with representatives from CBP, conducted Operation Team Player enforcement operations prior to Super Bowl LII to jointly address the illegal importation of counterfeit sports-related merchandise.  These efforts resulted in the seizure of over 171,926 counterfeit sports and entertainment-related items worth an estimated $15.7 million, and a joint investigative efforts led to 65 arrests with 24 convictions.

The People’s Republic of China remained the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for a total estimated MSRP value of over $761 million or 54 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures. 

The Intellectual Property Rights Fiscal Year 2018 Seizure Statistics report is available here:

Last modified: 
August 9, 2019