STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scored big against trademark theft after seizing 5,383 pieces of counterfeit soccer apparel near Washington Dulles International Airport on November 2.
The haul included jersey tops and shorts that violated the intellectual property rights (IPR) of many well-known European “football” clubs, such as Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.
If genuine, the soccer apparel would have an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $484,470.
“Soccer is one of the most popular sports around the world, and these clubs possess valuable intellectual property rights. It’s no surprise that some people will do anything to capitalize on the sport’s popularity, even if that includes resorting to theft of a trademark holder’s rights and revenues,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “Protecting intellectual property rights remains a Customs and Border Protection trade enforcement priority, and a mission that we take very seriously.”
The first shipment arrived on October 14. CBP detained the shipment to determine the apparel’s authenticity, then completed the seizure on November 2. That day, CBP encountered and seized a second shipment of counterfeit soccer apparel destined for the same consignee.
The apparel represented Arsenal, Barcelona, Brazil, Bayern Munchen, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, and Tottenham Hotspur football clubs.
Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of America’s businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and the health and safety of consumers. To protect American businesses and consumer from the harms caused by IPR theft, CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.
During fiscal year 2014, CBP made more than 23,000 seizures of counterfeit goods, which, if genuine, would have an estimated total MSRP value of more than $1.2 billion.
Read Priority Trade Issue: Intellectual Property Rights, for more information on CBP’s IPR enforcement mission, and view CBP’s annual IPR seizure stats.
Learn more about CBP.
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.