CBP Officers in Chicago Capture $1.5 Million in Counterfeit Vaping Pens
CHICAGO–U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers at Chicago O’Hare’s International Mail Branch seized more than 77,000 Rick and Morty Vape Pens on March 9. The shipment, originating from Shenzhen, China, was heading to a distribution company in Georgia.
CBP officers examined two shipments of 258 boxes to determine the admissibility of the shipments, and discovered the boxes contained Rick and Morty vape pens. The officers found popular cartoon characters on the vape pen packaging and suspected the vape pens violated copyright and trademark laws.
CBP reached out to Warner Bros. Entertainment INC, and it was confirmed they had not licensed their “Rick and Morty” copyright for vape pens. CBP Import Specialists determined the shipments of vape pens was infringing upon the “Rick and Morty” copyright. CBP officers seized 77,400 vape pens. If the pens were real, the MSRP for the pens would have been worth $1.55 million.
“Often CBP seizes vape pens because they violate FDA guidelines, but these parcels violate copyright laws which adds to the charges and complexity of the case,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “Counterfeit products are unsafe for consumers, harm the economy, damage the revenue and image of the companies, and could cost American jobs.”
Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.
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. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
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 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion. 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'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.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.