NORFOLK, Va. – Just two weeks after seizing 118,566 pairs of counterfeit cotton diabetic socks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Area Port of Norfolk-Newport News, Va., seized another 165,707 pairs of socks that violated the Cotton seal trademark. This latest shipment, which officers seized on July 29, was appraised at more than $2.6 million manufacturer’s suggested retail price had they been authentic.
CBP officers initially inspected this shipment of Hugh Ugoli branded diabetic cotton socks on July 12 after it arrived from Turkey, and officers detained the 694-box shipment. This shipment was similar to the July 13 counterfeit diabetic socks seizure.
Diabetic socks are specialty socks that are non-elastic to reduce pressure and swelling, that eliminate friction that may cause discomfort, and that help keep the patient’s foot dry. Any level of substandard manufacturing may seriously endanger the health and well-being of diabetic patients.
CBP import specialists at the agency’s Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Centers of Excellence and Expertise, which are the agency’s trade experts, verified with Cotton Incorporated that the Cotton seal trademark on the packaging was unauthorized.
According to Cotton Incorporated, products bearing the “Seal of Cotton” trademark, which is owned and licensed exclusively by Cotton Incorporated, are evaluated for their cotton quality and content in a product. Additionally, licensees must have all artwork and packaging bearing the Seal of Cotton trademark approved prior to manufacturing and distribution.
CBP import specialists appraised the counterfeit socks at $2,651,312 MSRP, had they been authentic.
CBP officers seized the socks, which were destined to an address in Loudoun County, Va.
No one has been criminally charged. An investigation continues.
“Diabetic socks are an unusual product to counterfeit, but Customs and Border Protection officers realize that bad actors will counterfeit anything that lines their greedy pockets with illicit proceeds, regardless of any potential harm their products will cause their customers,” said Mark Laria, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Norfolk-Newport News. “We remain committed to intercepting counterfeit and potentially dangerous consumer goods, and we strongly encourage consumers to protect themselves and their families by purchasing goods only from reputable vendors.”
CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. 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.
During fiscal year 2021, CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized over 27,000 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was $3.3 billion, or an average of about $9 million every day. Additionally, HSI special agents arrested 388 individuals in 2021, obtained 155 indictments, and received 100 convictions related to intellectual property crimes. To learn more at HSI’s role in combatting counterfeiting, visit the National IPR Coordination Center.
CBP's border security mission is led at 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. Learn what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2021. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.
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