CINCINNATI–-Last Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Port of Cincinnati seized 85 watches deemed to be counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
The watches originated from a plastic goods company in Hong Kong, transited through a freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia, and were ultimately destined to an apartment in New York City. All of them displayed the protected Rolex trademark. The total declared value was listed as $402, but had the 85 watches been real the cumulative Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been $5,844,500.
Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard and potentially dangerous.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
“Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for an unusually low price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers are dedicated to preventing counterfeiters from defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.”
On a typical day in Fiscal Year 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Watches and jewelry accounted for the largest portion of these totals at about 15 percent. Eighty-three percent of all counterfeit seizures originated in China and Hong Kong.
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness 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 can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.