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Louisville CBP Seizes Counterfeit Designer Watches Worth $26.86M

Release Date: 
October 27, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky— One of the most common counterfeited items that is seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are watches. On September 10, CBP officers in Louisville seized 2,168 counterfeit designer watches with a MSRP of $57.84 million.

Watches
Counterfeit watches, like these, were seized by 
Louisville CBP .  Counterfeit watches are the top
seized item by CBP.

The enforcement efforts did not stop there, on October 21, CBP officers Louisville inspected seven parcels to determine if the goods were admissible in accordance with CBP regulations and found a total of 54 designer watches. CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise determined that all the watches were counterfeit. The watches originated from Hong Kong and Turkey and were destined for residential addresses in Florida and Michigan.

One of the more notable seizure contained 21 counterfeit Richard Mille watches that was destined for an address in Miami. This shipment would have been worth $25.56 million if authentic. The other shipments contained 33 more counterfeit designer watches that would have been worth more than $1.3 million if they were real.

Counterfeit watches and jewelry are one of the top seized counterfeit products by CBP, with more than a quarter of the counterfeit goods coming from Hong Kong. Counterfeit watches and jewelry make up almost half of the total MSRP of seized goods (an average of $650 million over the last two years).

“This is a significant seizure for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Counterfeit goods like this, come in by the truck-load on a nightly basis all across the nation threatening businesses and conning the consumer.”   

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.

Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. If interested, please visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.

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.

CBP's border security mission is led at 328 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. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
October 27, 2021