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CBP Seizes Over $650K of Fake Apple Wireless Earphones, Charging Cables at LA/LB Seaport

Release Date: 
September 9, 2020

CBP Officers Intercept 16,620 Counterfeit AirPod Wireless Earphones and Lightning Cables

Fake AirPods 1
CBP in Los Angeles seized 2,400 pairs of
counterfeit wireless earphones.

LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the LA/Long Beach seaport, in coordination with Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (Electronics Center) import specialists, seized 16,620 counterfeit wireless earphones and charging cables that violated Apple’s AirPod and Lightning protected trademarks.

The seized items included 2,400 pairs of counterfeit wireless earphones and 14,220 counterfeit charging cables. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $651,780.

CBP import specialists assigned to the Electronics Center confirmed that the goods were in violation of Apple’s AirPod and Lightning registered trademarks. CBP officers discovered the counterfeit products while conducting an enforcement exam on two shipments containing a total of 185 boxes that arrived from China on July 2 and July 15.

“Counterfeit products have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, as each time a consumer buys a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “This translates to lost profits and U.S. jobs over time.”

Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers. Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.

Fake AirPods 2
Consumers are tricked into believing they
are buying an original product at a significant discount.

“Counterfeit electrical goods are not put through the same vigorous safety checks as legitimate items and are often very dangerous,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP Area Port Director of the LA/Long Beach seaport. “Consumers need to be extremely cautious when they buy electronics from non-legitimate sources.”

Nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2019, CBP seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights (IPR). The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018. 

Fake Apple Cable
CBP intercepted 14,220 counterfeit charging cables.

 Watches and jewelry topped the list for number of total seizures with 4,242 representing 15 percent of all seizures.  Watches and jewelry remained at the top of the list of products seized by total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total MSRP value of seizures.  Wearing apparel and accessories placed second by MSRP value with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.

Fake Apple Cables 2
Available on illegitimate websites and sold in
underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply
the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers.

Fiscal year 2019 Intellectual Property Rights Statistics

If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. 

The enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights is a CBP Priority Trade Issue. Priority Trade Issues represent high-risk areas that can cause significant revenue loss, harm the U.S. economy, or threaten the health and safety of the American people. They drive the risk-informed investment of CBP resources as well as enforcement and facilitation efforts, including special enforcement operations, outreach, and regulatory initiatives.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.

Last modified: 
September 9, 2020