PHILADELPHIA – If authentic, the 699 luxury brand watches that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized Thursday in Philadelphia would hold a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of nearly $10 million. Instead, they’re headed to destruction.
The express consignment parcel arrived June 11 from Hong Kong, China and was manifested as lithium batteries. When CBP officers inspected the shipment, officers encountered luxury brand watches bearing the name Rolex, Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, Patek, Fossil, and Harley Davidson. Officers detained the shipment as the craftsmanship was of questionable quality and the packaging was of poor quality.
Officers worked with CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts, who verified through trademark holders that the watches were counterfeit.
“This is a significant seizure, both in terms of dollar value, and in the message that it sends to individuals and organizations that traffic in counterfeit and pirated goods. CBP officers are expertly trained and we remain vigilant to detect these illicit consumer goods at our ports of entry,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.
CBP has designated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement as a Priority Trade Issue. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy and threaten the health and safety of American people.
On a typical day in 2017, CBP officers seized $3.3 million worth of products with IPR violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2017.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, the number of IPR seizures increased 8 percent to 34,143 from 31,560 in FY 2016. The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods, had they been genuine, decreased to $1.2 billion from $1.38 billion in FY 2016. Read more 2017 IPR Enforcement Statistics.
As a result of CBP enforcement efforts, ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested 457 individuals, obtained 288 indictments, and received 242 convictions related to intellectual property crimes in 2017.
"The seizure of counterfeit and potentially dangerous consumer products reflects the commitment by CBP officers and import specialists to protect businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive enforcement posture,” said Casey Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. "We will remain vigilant and we will continue to advance our detection capabilities in order to secure our homeland and keep our communities safe and our economy prosperous."
If you have information concerning counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an anonymous report through e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations
Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S. In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.
CBP's border security mission is led at 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 CBP.gov.