STERLING, Va. -- Apple products are popular, and so that explains why U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers would encounter nearly $290,000 in AirPods and Apple Watch knockoffs recently shipped from China in air cargo imports to Washington Dulles International Airport.
CBP officers inspected four Fairfax County, Va.-bound shipments, which collectively consisted of 1,000 Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and 50 Apple Watches, on March 15. Officers suspected that the products may be counterfeit and detained them for further investigation.
CBP officers submitted documentation and photographs on March 16 to CBP’s trade experts at the Machinery Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE). On March 21, the CEE experts verified the Apple products as counterfeits and appraised the products at $289,550 manufacturer’s suggested retail price, had they been genuine.
CBP officers seized the counterfeit Apple products on March 29. No one has been criminally charged.
“Unscrupulous manufacturers and vendors illegally profit on the sale of substandard counterfeit products at the expense and safety of American consumers,” said Christine Waugh, CBP’s Acting Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and Border Protection urges consumers to protect their health and wallets by buying authentic consumer goods from reputable or authorized vendors.”
The international trade in counterfeit consumer goods is illegal. It steals revenues from trademark holders, steals tax revenues from the government, funds transnational criminal organizations, and the unregulated products potentially threaten the health and safety of American consumers. Counterfeit consumer goods may also be sourced or manufactured in facilities that employ forced labor.
CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program.
U.S. trademark and copyright owners can register with CBP to have their intellectual property protected at the border through the through the e-Recordation program (https://iprr.cbp.gov/s/). Apple trademarks are recorded with CBP.
During fiscal year 2022, CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized nearly 21,000 shipments containing goods that violated IPR, which equates to nearly 25 million counterfeit goods. The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was over $2.98 billion (USD), or an average of over $8 million every day.
Additionally, HSI special agents arrested 255 individuals in 2022, obtained 192 indictments, and received 95 convictions related to intellectual property crimes. To learn more at HSI’s role in combatting counterfeiting, visit the National IPR Coordination Center.
To report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s online e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. More information about counterfeit goods is available on CBP’s Truth Behind Counterfeits website and StopFakes.gov.
CBP's border security mission is led at our nation’s Ports of Entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.