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Intellectual Property Rights

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers.

Trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises. CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses, safeguarding them from unfair competition, and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity.

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CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.


Intellectual Property Rights Fiscal Year 2020 Seizure Statistics 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was over $1.3 billion. In FY 2020, ICE-HSI arrested 203 individuals, obtained 125 indictments, and received 98 convictions related to intellectual property crimes. 

Handbags and wallets topped the list for number of seizures with 4,597, representing 17% of all IPR seizures. However, watches and jewelry were the top products seized in terms of total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $435 million, representing 33% of the total. Handbags and wallets came in second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $282 million, corresponding to 22% of the total. 

In FY 2020, CBP seized a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 related products that threatened the health and safety of American consumers. These seizures included 177,356 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 378 incidents; 12,709,390 counterfeit face masks in 352 incidents; and 38,098 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 221 incidents. For the latest information about CBP’s efforts during COVID-19, please visit https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus 

The ICE-led National IPR Coordination Center (IPR Center), along with representatives from CBP, conducted Operation Team Player enforcement operations prior to Super Bowl LIV to jointly address the illegal importation of counterfeit sports-related merchandise. These efforts resulted in the seizure of nearly 176,000 counterfeit sports-related items, worth an estimated $123 million MSRP. Enforcement actions related to this year's operation led to a 400% increase in the overall MSRP of seized goods from Super Bowl LIII.  

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 over $660 million or approximately 51% of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.  Select the Seizure Statistics Reports to see the latest report. 

Last modified: 
September 15, 2021