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CBP Seizes $248k Shipment of Counterfeit Designer Watches from Hong Kong

Release Date: 
July 19, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia recently seized counterfeit Rolex and Michael Kors watches, which, if authentic, held an MSRP of $248,075.

During an inspection of an international mail on May 16, CBP officers selected a parcel from Hong Kong that was manifested as “PI970 Lithium Metal Batteries.”  Inside that parcel, CBP officers discovered 10 Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches, six (6) Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Just watches, three (3) Gold Yacht Master Rolex watches, and five (5) Michael Kors watches.

Philadelphia CBP seized $248,000 in counterfeit designer brand watches.
Philadelphia CBP seized
$248,000 in counterfeit
designer brand watches.

“Our primary concerns are consumer safety and trademark protection.  These counterfeit watches are likely assembled with inferior parts, they potentially steal jobs from employees who construct authentic watches, and they may negatively impact the legitimate business’ brand reputation,” said Shawn Polley, CBP Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “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.”

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

CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts, worked with the trademark holders to verify the products as counterfeits.  CBP officers in Philadelphia seized the watches June 28.

“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,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the Mid-Atlantic region.  “Intellectual property rights enforcement is a Customs and Border Protection priority trade issue, and a mission that we take seriously.”

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

CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a record number of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in FY2016.

The number of IPR seizures increased 9 percent in FY2016 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.

$248,000 in counterfeit designer brand watches seized by CBP
Some of the $248,000 in counterfeit
designer brand watches that
Philadelphia CBP officers seized.

On a typical day in 2016, CBP officers seized $3.8 million worth of products with IPR violations.

If you have information about counterfeit merchandise being 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.  Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2016.

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.

Last modified: 
March 8, 2018