SEATTLE—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and import specialists seized a shipment of 25,822 purses on March 13, arriving in an ocean container from China. More than 8,500 of the purses were seized in violation of various counterfeit trademarks including: Louis Vuitton, North Face, Gucci, Fendi, Burberry and Coach.
The combined manufacturer's suggested retail price of the handbags, had the trademarks been genuine, is more than $8.4 million.
"Counterfeit products look very similar to brand name products at first glance, but these products are typically of a much poorer quality than the real thing," said Mark Wilkerson, CBP area port director in Seattle. "CBP officers and import specialists are highly trained and dedicated to the identification, detection and interception of products violating intellectual property rights laws and regulations."
The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a significant threat to America's innovation based economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security, critical infrastructure, and the health and safety of our consumers. CBP has designated intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade issue, devoting significant resources and personnel from throughout the agency to interdict shipments of fake goods, and prevent damage to the U.S. economy and harm to consumers and national security.
Nationwide the number of intellectual property rights seizures increased by 24 percent to 27,792 in fiscal year 2011 from 19,959 in fiscal year 2010. China continues to be the number one source country for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for 62 percent or $124.7 million of the total domestic value of seizures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.