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  1. Home
  2. Trade
  3. Priority Trade Issues
  4. Intellectual Property Rights

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.

IPR Logo

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 2021  Seizure Statistics

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized  over 27,000  shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine,  was $3.3 billion.  In FY 2021, ICE-HSI arrested 388 individuals, obtained 155 indictments, and received 100 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.

Wearing apparel and accessories topped the list for number of seizure lines with 30,681, representing 30%  of all IPR seizures.  However, watches and jewelry were the top products seized in terms of total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $1.18 billion, representing 36%  of the total. Handbags and wallets came in second with seizure lines estimated to be valued at over $972 million, corresponding to 29% of the total value of goods seized due to intellectual property rights violations.

In FY 2021, 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 280 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited COVID-19 test kits, 717,741 counterfeit face masks, and 526 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited chloroquine tablets. Of the COVID-19 related product seizures, 16 percent of the seizures occurred in the express consignment environment and 80 percent were discovered in incoming mail. About 77 percent of these seizures originated in China.  For the latest  information about CBP’s efforts during  COVID-19, please visit www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus.

E-commerce is a growing segment of the economy in the United States. In FY 2021, CBP processed 213 million express shipments and 94 million international mail shipments. CBP has been working to improve trade risk management in the e-commerce environment by working closely with the trade community and operating two test pilot programs, the Section 321 Data Pilot and the Entry Type 86 Test. In FY 2021, CBP received 470 million filings on de minimis shipments (126 million Section 321 Data Pilot; 344 million Entry Type 86). The Entry Type 86 filings accounted for almost 50% of all non-mail de minimis shipments. For more information about e-commerce and the related pilot programs, please visit www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/e-commerce.

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 almost $1.9 billion or approximately 57% of the total estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.  Select the  Seizure Statistics Reports  to see the latest report.


  • Last Modified: September 16, 2022