LOUISVILLE, Ky–-In 24 hours, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville seized three shipments of jewelry for bearing counterfeit designer trademarks while attempting importation into the United States.
On April 3, two shipments, originating from the same location in Hong Kong, were heading to the same private residence in Jeffersonville, Indiana, but with different recipient names. One shipment contained 400 bracelets bearing suspect Van Cleef and Arpels trademarks, while the second shipment contained 993 jewelry sets bearing suspect Van Cleef and Arpels trademarks. Officers submitted documentation and photographs to CBP’s trade experts at the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE), who determined that the merchandise was not authentic, and bore infringing trademarks that had been recorded with CBP for border enforcement through the e-Recordation program. Had the items been genuine, the total Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been $3.7 million.
The next day, CBP officers held another parcel for inspection. This shipment was also from Hong Kong, but this time was heading to a residence in Cleveland, Ohio. Inside officers found 1,367 counterfeit pendants that bore recorded trademarks:537 bearing suspect Chanel marks, 155 bearing suspect Dior marks, 155 bearing suspect Louis Vuitton marks, 245 bearing suspect Gucci marks, 75 bearing suspect Fendi marks, 60 bearing suspect Yves Saint Laurent marks, 40 bearing suspect Tiffany & Company marks, 66 bearing suspect Versace marks, 20 bearing suspect Givenchy marks, 10 bearing suspect MCM marks, 20 bearing suspect Dolce & Gabbanamarks, 10 bearing suspect MLB Yankees marks, and 10 bearing suspect MLB Dodgers marks. Once again, officers submitted documentation and photographs to CBP’s trade experts at the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising CEE who determined that the merchandise was not authentic, and bore infringing trademarks that had been recorded with CBP for border enforcement through the e-Recordation program. The total MSRP for this shipment would have been $710, 295, had these items been real.
These shipments were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, the investigating arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and an investigation is ongoing.
Intellectual property is an important component of the U.S. economy, and Louisville Port Director Thomas Mahn emphasized the critical role CBP plays in protecting the economy and consumer safety and health. “No one buys a luxury brand piece of jewelry expecting it to fail or fall apart. As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”
“Substandard and illegal products harm the U.S. economy and the health and safety of consumers,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “Once again our CBP officers at the Port of Louisville have demonstrated their exceptional skill and superior commodity expertise.”
Commonly, these goods are sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites. Online listings will often use images of the genuine designer product, defrauding purchasers who are expecting to receive the real thing.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. CBP has the authority to detain, seized, forfeit, and ultimately destroy merchandise seeking entry into the United States if it bears an infringing trademark or copyright that has been recorded with CBP through the e-Recordation program. https://iprr.cbp.gov/s/.
Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2022, CBP seized over 24.5 million IPR violating items that would have been worth just shy of $3 billion, had the goods been genuine. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.
CBP encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. The e-Allegation system provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods in the U.S.
CBP’s border security mission is led at 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.