CINCINNATI—A recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection operation at the express consignment hubs of DHL in Cincinnati, Ohio and UPS in Louisville, Ky. has netted more than $3.4 million in counterfeit items including counterfeit 2013 NFL Super Bowl team jerseys.
"CBP officers at the DHL and UPS express consignment facilities have seized more than 60,000 counterfeit items over the past nine days during this intellectual property enforcement operation," said William A. Ferrara, CBP acting director of field operations in Chicago. "This counterfeit merchandise hurts consumers by being substandard and it hurts the U.S. economy as well. Also federal investigations have shown that some of these counterfeiting organizations are linked to other criminal enterprises."
As the federal agency responsible for border protection, CBP plays a key role on the frontline of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement as CBP officers and import specialists are involved in the seizure of goods infringing upon trademarks, trade names and copyrights.
During the weeks and days leading up to major sporting events, an array of products with the trademark and names of the popular teams are manufactured and made available to fans even though the companies are not licensed to produce these trademarked items. CBP works closely with the trademark holders and the private sector to distinguish authentic jerseys, hats and other items from the fakes. As in years past, China remains the primary source of counterfeit and pirated goods coming into the United States representing 72 percent of all IPR seizures.
The trade in counterfeit goods is a significant threat to America's innovation based economy, the competitiveness of our businesses and the livelihood of U.S. workers and in some cases, national security, critical infrastructure and the safety of America's consumers.
National CBP figures show the manufacturer's suggested retail price of seized counterfeit goods had increased from $1.11 billion in FY 2011 to $1.26 billion in FY 2012. (MSRP for counterfeit goods is the retail price the goods would have had if they had been genuine.) There was an increase in the dollar amount despite a slight decline in the number of national IPR seizures which totaled 22,848 in FY 2012 and 24,792 in FY 2011 nationwide. For FY 2012, the top CBP seizures according to MSRP value were handbags/wallets; watches/jewelry; wearing apparel/accessories; consumer electronics/parts; and footwear.
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.