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CBP Seizes $233k Shipment of Counterfeit Designer Watches from Hong Kong

Release Date: 
March 1, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia seized 54 counterfeit designer brand watches Tuesday, which, if authentic, held a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $233,209.

Philadelphia CBP officers seized these 54 counterfeit designer brand watches February 27, 2018.
Philadelphia CBP officers seized these
54 counterfeit designer brand watches
February 27, 2018.

CBP officers examined the parcel on January 23. It shipped from Hong Kong and was destined to a Philadelphia address.  The parcel was manifested as watch samples.  Inside, CBP officers discovered an assortment of watches bearing the high-end brand names of Armani, Cartier, Hublot, Olivia Burton, Omega, Pandora, Rado, Rolex, Swarovski, and Tous.

Officers detained the shipment and contacted CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts. CBP’s CEE specialists worked with the trademark holders and confirmed that the watches were counterfeit.

“Customs and Border Protection will continue to work closely with our trade and consumer safety partners to identify and seize counterfeit and inferior merchandise, especially those products that pose potential harm to American consumers, workers, and businesses,” said Edward Moriarty, CBP Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “Intellectual property rights enforcement is a Customs and Border Protection priority trade issue, and a mission that we take seriously.”

CBP suspected the watches to be counterfeit due to the poor quality of packaging and watch construction, and because they shipped from Hong Kong, a non-traditional supply route for these watches.

This is Philadelphia CBP’s second significant seizure of counterfeit designer watches from Hong Kong in the last year.  On June 24, 2017, CBP officers seized a counterfeit watch shipment worth an estimated $248,000 MSRP, if authentic

The designer brand watches displayed poor quality
The designer brand watches displayed
poor quality construction.

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, and has made IPR enforcement a CBP Priority Trade Issue.

The theft of intellectual property and the trade in substandard and often dangerous goods threatens America’s innovation economy and consumer health and safety, and it generates proceeds that fund criminal activities and organized crime.

On a typical day in 2017, CBP officers seized $3.3 million worth of products with IPR violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2017.

"The interception of counterfeit items demonstrates the commitment and expertise of Customs and Border Protection officers and import specialists, which is critical to the detection and seizure of unlawful and potentially dangerous imports," said Casey Owen Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “The trade of fake goods, and the widespread violation of private intellectual property rights threaten the American economy, as well as our national security.”

CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a record number of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in FY2016. [2016 is CBP’s most recent verified IPR statistics]

The number of IPR seizures increased nine percent in 2016 to more than 31,560.  The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to more than $1.38 billion.

As a result of CBP enforcement efforts, ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested 451 individuals, obtained 304 indictments, and received 272 convictions related to intellectual property crimes in FY2016.

If you have information concerning counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an anonymous report through e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

CBP's border security mission is led at 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 CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
March 2, 2018