CBP Joins ICE, Federal Partners for Intellectual Property Protection Ceremony
U.S. Customs and Border Protection joined Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal partners at a World Intellectual Property Day ceremony yesterday in Arlington, Va. to recognize the results of joint operations of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.
One major accomplishment was the seizure of $219 million worth of counterfeit goods seized in April thus far as part of a long-term CBP-ICE investigation targeting counterfeit products manufactured in Asia and smuggled through the Port of Baltimore. The joint ICE-CBP operation resulted in the seizure of numerous counterfeit goods including counterfeit DVD's, circuit breakers, pharmaceuticals, video games and controllers, exercise equipment, sportswear and luxury goods.
In all, the IPR Coordination Center announced a total of $263 million in counterfeit goods seized by federal partners during the month of April until IP Day, April 26. More than $44 million was seized in "Operation Spring Cleaning", a massive nationwide joint enforcement operation involving federal, state and local partners of the IPR Center. Operation Spring Cleaning resulted in the seizure of 703,684 counterfeit items seized in operations in dozens of cities across the United States and the arrest of 45 individuals. The counterfeits were described as high grade counterfeits designed to rip off U.S. consumers.
DOD's Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General joined the group as new partners in the IPR Coordination Center. They join ICE, CBP, the FBI, Department of Commerce, Food and Drug Administration, Postal Inspection Service and Mexico's Tax Administrative Service as partners participating in the work of the center.
World IP Day is designed to raise awareness of counterfeiting and piracy. It was instituted by the World IP Organization to raise awareness of the threat posed globally by the theft of trademark and intellectual property rights and the dangers posed by counterfeit and substandard products.
CBP's strategic approach to IPR enforcement is multi-layered and includes seizing fake goods at our borders, pushing the border outward through audits of infringing importers and cooperation with our international trading partners, and partnering with industry and other government agencies to enhance these efforts. CBP provides considerable resources, diverse personnel and focused training to respond to IPR issues. In FY 2009, 14,841 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods with a total domestic value of $260.7 million were made by CBP and ICE.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.