Arriving from Hong Kong, the items were concealed in generic packaging
LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to international cargo operations at Ontario International Airport (ONT) and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport (LA/LB) in coordination with import specialists with the Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE-Electronics) seized 1,200 pairs of wireless headphones and 220 wrist wearable devices for infringing Apple registered copyrights and trademarks. If genuine, the seized products would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $396,812.
The illicit products arriving in six individual shipments via air cargo to ONT and maritime container to the LA/LB seaport, were seized in a period of just one week, in mid-July.
The CEE-Electronics confirmed that the goods infringed the following registered trademarks and copyrights that had been recorded for border enforcement through CBP’s e-Recordation program: Apple Watch, Apple Ultra Watch, AirPods and AirPods Pro. In an attempt to evade CBP detection, the counterfeit items were concealed in generic packaging, and illicitly manifested as generic headphones.
“Because they look and feel incredibly similar to legitimate Apple products, consumers are easily deceived by scammers,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Intercepting fraudulent import products is a top priority for CBP, we protect consumers and the economy every single day.”
Fake Apple products lack the advance features found in genuine ones such as active noise cancellation, water resistance and seamless integration with Apple devices.
“You can protect yourself and your family by buying them at legitimate stores and authorized resellers avoiding third-party websites as well as person-to-person resale sites,” said Cheryl Davies, CBP LAX Port Director who oversees ONT operations.
In addition, buying counterfeits on illegitimate websites could expose consumers to internet security risks, from malware or ransomware to compromising your personal data and financial information shared during the purchase.
“It is a lose-lose proposition while it may seem innocent, the money you spend on counterfeit products often funds criminal activity, from forced labor, human and drug trafficking, to violent crime,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP Port Director of the LA/LB Seaport.
Nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2022, CBP seized nearly 21,000 shipments containing 25 million individual goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated MSRP value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $3 billion. Consumer electronics represented 3.7% of the total seizure lines.
CBP has established an educational initiative at U.S. airports and online to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign is available at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Report intellectual property rights (IPR) violations to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.