WASHINGTON: A joint U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Customs and Excise Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong Customs) intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement operation resulted in the seizure of 140 shipments containing counterfeit consumer electronic goods, such as cell phones, adaptors, speakers and headsets. The seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.1 million if genuine.
“Counterfeiting is often viewed as a victimless crime, but it damages the economy and can potentially threaten the health and safety of consumers,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade. “Operations like this keep those goods out of the American supply chain—protecting our economy and consumers.”
The operation, conducted in November, was led by CBP’s Mobile Intellectual Property Enforcement Team, a special task force comprised of top IPR enforcement experts from a range of offices within the agency. CBP and Hong Kong Customs focused on stopping shipments of IPR-infringing electronic goodsfrom entering U.S. commerce—with CBP making seizures at the U.S. border and Hong Kong Customs interdicting exports of counterfeit goods destined for the United States.
“This is the third bilateral or multilateral joint operation CBP has conducted with Hong Kong Customs this year,” said Michael Walsh, CBP IPR and E-Commerce Division Director. “We look to build upon our cooperation on IPR enforcement in 2017 and identify new opportunities to address areas of common concern involving the rise of e-commerce and its effect on small businesses.”
IPR is a priority trade issue for CBP. This joint operation is an example of how CBP works with international partners to accomplish a common goal of deterring and disrupting illegal trade in IPR-infringing products.
Counterfeits are often made of inferior materials, manufactured under uncontrolled and unsanitary conditions and labeled with false information. As a result, they can threaten the health and safety of the people who buy them.