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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 2019 Seizure Statistics 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.  In FY 2019, ICE-HSI arrested 256 individuals, obtained 197 indictments, and received 157 convictions related to intellectual property crimes. 

Watches and Jewelry topped the list for number of seizures with 4,242, representing 15 percent of all IPR seizures.  Watches and jewelry also continued as the top product seized by total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total. Wearing apparel and accessories were second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $343 million.

CBP and HSI seized 169 shipments of computer networking equipment affixed with counterfeit trademarks with a total MSRP value of nearly $7.3 million. The seized networking equipment seizures violated a total of seven trademarks recorded with CBP and took place in 21 ports around the country.

The ICE-led National IPR Coordination Center (IPR Center), along with representatives from CBP, conducted Operation Team Player enforcement operations prior to Super Bowl LII to jointly address the illegal importation of counterfeit sports-related merchandise. These efforts resulted in the seizure of nearly 285,000 counterfeit sports-and entertainment-related items worth an estimated $24.2 million, and a joint investigative efforts led to 28 arrests with 21 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 over $1 billion or 66 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.  Select FY 2019 Seizure Statistics Report to see the latest report.

Last modified: 
May 14, 2020