Seizure of Counterfeit Goods Up, Footwear Down, in FY13

Seizure of Counterfeit Goods Up, Footwear Down, in FY13

Federal seizures of counterfeit goods increased nearly 7 percent from 22,848 in FY 2012 to 24,361 in FY 2013, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. CBP and HSI are the components within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The agencies said the MSRP of seized goods increased from $1.26 billion in FY 2012 to $1.74 billion in FY 2013.  DHS averaged slightly over 66 seizures per day, with an average MSRP of each seizure rising 29.6 percent to slightly more than $71,500.

“Together with our IPR partners, CBP continues to guard the nation’s borders against counterfeit products,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.  “These products are not only unsafe and dangerous to consumers, but they also pose a threat to the economic security of our country.”

The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center continued its initiative Operation “In Our Sites” in FY 2013 to shutdown rogue websites trading in counterfeit and pirated goods.  HSI seized control of 1,413 websites trading in these illicit goods in FY 2013.

The report also found that:
  • Handbags/wallets (MSRP: $700 million) again topped the list in terms of value, followed by watches/jewelry ($502 million), consumer electronics/parts ($145 million) and wearing apparel/accessories ($116.2 million).
  • Operation Red Zone focusing on professional sport apparel and souvenirs during the Super Bowl season
    yielded seizures valued at $17.3 million MSRP. Overall sports jerseys made up almost 29 percent of all seized counterfeit shipments.
  • Operation Home Plate 1 and Operation Home Plate 2, two one-week operations focusing on major sports league apparel and accessories resulted in 292 seizures valued at $2.4 million MSRP.
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products came in at five, marking the first time since FY 2005, footwear that footwear had been bumped from that position.
  • The MSRP value of seized footwear was $54.9 million, down sharply from $10.3.4 million in FY 2012. The report does not explain whether the decline reflected an 11.2 percent decline in seizures, shifting enforcement priorities, an overall decline in counterfeiting or a combination of effects.
  • The value of Sporting Goods, not including footwear or apparel, seized more than doubled to $3.0 million, despite a drop in the number of seizures from 496 in FY 2012 to 266 in FY 2013.
The National IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center harnesses the tactical expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety and the U.S. economy. Collaboration through the IPR Center led to 692 arrests, 401 criminal indictments, and 451 criminal convictions for criminal IPR infringement activities in FY 2013.

While the People’s Republic of China remains the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, with a total value of $1.1 billion, representing 68 percent of all IPR seizures by MSRP in FY 2013, DHS made seizures from 73 additional economies during FY 2013, including Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.

CBP is committed to seeking global solutions to the global trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods.  Notably, CBP engaged in a joint enforcement operation with China resulting in the removal of 243,000 items trading between the countries, and also concluded joint enforcement operations with France and Germany.

CBP and HSI protect businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program.  CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.