WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) released their annual report stating that the total number of products seized containing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringements increased nearly 25 percent in fiscal year 2015. The collaboration netted 28,865 seizures of shipments, an increase from 23,140 in fiscal year 2014.
Had these products been genuine, the estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods would have been over $1.35 billion. This is a ten percent increase in the value of seized goods from the previous fiscal year, which were estimated at $1.23 billion MSRP.
“CBP’s frontline interdictions, steadfast targeting, and close collaboration with ICE and other law enforcement agencies produced a record number of seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods,” said, CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The large increase in the number of IPR seizures reflects the hard work and dedication of our people across the country every day.”
“Counterfeit goods present health and safety hazards, threaten the U.S. economy and fund organizations involved in violent crime,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “ICE is committed to working with CBP and our law enforcement partners to protect American jobs and people by stemming the illicit flow of these products into our country and our communities.”
In fiscal year 2015, apparel and accessories along with watches and jewelry were the top two product categories for number of IPR violative shipments seized. Watches and jewelry along with handbags and wallets were at the top of the list for MSRP value.
Tactical interagency collaboration with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) resulted in 538 arrests, with 339 indictments, and 357 convictions.
The People’s Republic of China remained the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for a total estimated MSRP value of $697 million or 52 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.
In fiscal year 2016, CBP and HSI will continue to protect businesses and consumers every day through their aggressive IPR border enforcement program. Theft of intellectual property threatens America’s innovation-based economic vitality, business competitiveness, the livelihood of workers, consumer safety, and national security. IPR has been a CBP Priority Trade Issue since 2007, as it represents a high-risk area that has potential to cause significant harm to the U.S. economy and the health and safety of the American people. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 provides CBP with new tools to better enforce intellectual property rights, allowing private sector donations of hardware, software, and equipment to supplement IPR enforcement; enhancing CBP’s collaboration with IP rights holders; improving targeting through the interagency IPR Center; and strengthening international partnerships to stop counterfeiting at the source.
If you are aware of or suspect a company or individual of infringing your trademark or copyright, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. IPR violations can also be reported to the IPR Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.