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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Italian Customs Joint Operation Nets 115,000 Counterfeit Luxury Items

Release Date: 
December 5, 2014

WASHINGTON—In partnership with Agenzia Delle Dogane E Dei Monopoli (Italian Customs), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently completed Operation Dolce Vita, a bilateral Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement operation that targeted high value luxury items from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The operation included an information exchange and targeting of suspect cargo at all ports of entry in both the U.S. and Italy.

“Joint Customs operations such as Dolce Vita, and the sharing of trade intelligence are key to protecting the trademark holder, the consumer, and the economy from counterfeit products,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.  

Operation Dolce Vita conducted April 27 through May 10, 2014, resulted in 470 seizures of nearly 115,000 counterfeit items.  This number includes a transshipment of 63,000 bottles of perfume seized by Italian Customs.  The luxury goods seized were watches and jewelry at 38 percent (19,661 units) followed by footwear at 35 percent (18,062 pair), handbags and wallets at 12 percent and eyewear at 7 percent.  Italy’s seizure of 63,000 bottles of perfume exceeds the 19,661 units of watches and jewelry, and would make perfume the greatest number of goods seized.

"Operation Dolce Vita is the perfect example of bi-lateral cooperation.  This successful operation recognized the vulnerability of consumers in both our countries to predatory trade practices,” said Assistant Commissioner Charles Stallworth, CBP Office of International Affairs.  “It is important to understand this type of operation does not just protect against financial loss but also represents a critically important effort to protect the public's health and safety.  Many of the counterfeit goods are applied to the person and therefore expose consumers to unknown and often dangerous combinations of chemicals and additives."

In response to the overall threat, CBP has designated IPR enforcement as a priority trade issue and devotes significant resources to collecting advanced information from the trade and targeting high-risk IPR-infringing shipments.

“The intelligence gained in this operation will be instrumental in identifying future targets for IPR enforcement action.” said Richard Quinn, CBP Attaché in Italy.  “CBP is looking forward to conducting follow-up operations with Italian Customs to protect legitimate businesses and consumers from intellectual property thieves.

For more information, visit the CBP website at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/ipr.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017