PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of counterfeit smartphone digitizers on St. Patrick’s Day so that unsuspecting consumers wouldn’t risk their luck at getting ripped off.
A digitizer is a smartphone’s thin touchscreen affixed above the LED screen that sends user touches to the phone’s processor which translates that touch into an action. Counterfeit digitizers may experience a degradation in touch sensitivity or fail prematurely.
Additionally, manufacturers of most consumer products will not honor repair or replacement warranties of counterfeit copies of their products whether consumers knowingly or unwittingly purchased counterfeits.
CBP officers initially inspected the shipment, manifested as “Mobile Displays,” on February 3. The shipment arrived from Austria and was destined to an address west of Chicago. Officers discovered that the shipment contained a total of 648 Samsung-branded digitizers.
CBP officers suspected that the digitizers were counterfeit and detained the shipment. Officers then submitted documentation and photographs to CBP’s trade experts at the Electronics Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
On Friday, CBP’s trade experts verified that the consumer goods were not authentic and that they bore infringing trademarks and copyrights that had been recorded with CBP through the e-Recordation program (https://iprr.cbp.gov/s/). CBP officers at the Area Port of Philadelphia seized the digitizers later on Friday.
The counterfeit Samsung digitizers were valued at $128,952 manufacturer’s suggested retail price, had they been authentic.
No one has been criminally charged. An investigation continues.
“We strongly encourage consumers who seek a good deal on a new or used smartphone, or on a touchscreen repair, to not chance it. Consumers should protect themselves by purchasing a phone or repair service from a reputable vendor,” said Joseph Martella, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to protecting American consumers by intercepting counterfeit and pirated goods.”
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 2022, CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized over 20,812 shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, which equates to nearly 25 million counterfeit goods. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price 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.
Media can mine additional enforcement details by viewing CBP’s IPR webpage or by viewing previous years’ annual counterfeit goods seizure reports.
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.
See what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2022. Learn more at www.CBP.gov.
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.