MINNEAPOLIS— Stopping the dangerous enterprise involving the importation and sale of counterfeit items is one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) number one priorities. Officers around the nation have seized counterfeit handbags, jewelry, and apparel among other merchandise, however, CBP officers in Minneapolis recently stopped two shipments that contained 300 counterfeit General Motors (GM) Brand Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
On May 30, CBP officers inspected a shipment arriving from Hong Kong to determine the admissibility of the shipment and its contents. Based on intelligence gathering and experience, officers suspected the sensors were counterfeit. Because of CBP’s partnership with industry experts, officers reached out to GM’s Global Brand Protection Investigator-Global Security to determine if these items were indeed counterfeit. Within 24 hours GM confirmed that these were indeed counterfeit. These items were officially seized on Monday June 13. The 300 sensors were heading to a residence in Brooklyn Park, and the total Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price would have been $28,500, had they been genuine.
“Our officers are not only protecting the integrity of the American economy through trademark enforcement, but they are also securing manufacturing supply chains by preventing potentially dangerous products from being installed on your car,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “This underscores how counterfeiters completely disregard human lives and their safety while padding their bank accounts.”
TPMS monitors the air pressure inside vehicle tires. The goal of TPMS is to avoid traffic accidents, eliminate poor fuel economy, and decreases tire wear due to under-inflated tires.
“CBP is focused on identifying and intercepting these types of unsafe products from entering the U.S. The enforcement of trade laws at U.S. ports of entry remains a high priority for us,” said Augustine Moore, Port Director-Minneapolis. “Our officers are committed to detecting, intercepting, and seizing prohibited goods, which protects consumers and our economy.”
When rights holders record their federally registered trademarks and copyrights with CBP, the agency can enforce those rights to protect them at the border and ports of entry. As of September 30, 2021, CBP enforced approximately 20,758 active recorded copyrights and trademarks. In FY2021, CBP seized over 27,000 shipments with Intellectual Property Right (IPR) violations. If the seized products were genuine, the total MSRP of the items would have been valued at over $3.3 billion. This represents a 152% increase compared to FY2020, when goods valued at $1.31 billion MSRP were seized for IPR violations. A return to pre-pandemic trading levels and an overall increase in the number of CBP seizures of counterfeit products account for the significant rise in MSRP.
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.