U.S. Customs and Border Protection is cautioning holiday shoppers about the consequences of purchasing fake or counterfeit goods.
CBP said many people and small businesses purchase products through popular online websites that offer the convenience of avoiding holiday lines but might not have secure supply chains.
An example, the agency said, is that its San Juan Field Operations this week seized 289 shipments of counterfeit products imported into Puerto Rico via international mail or courier before the holidays. The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price of all the counterfeit products seized was $5.3 million. The domestic value of the purchased merchandise was $309,686.
“Purchasing knockoffs of high-end, high-demand products online does have an impact on the local economy,” said Leida Colon, assistant director of field operations for trade at CBP. “Unfair and illegal competition dislocates appropriate local business activity, with clear negative effects on local consumers, governments and the potential economic recovery.”
Among the alleged fraudulent merchandise CBP officers seized were watches, jewelry, bags, clothing and sunglasses that were illegally using a range of known brands such as Google, Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vutton, Pandora, Tous and Nike.
CBP noted that the manufacture of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of revenue and American workers of jobs and poses health and safety threats to U.S. consumers. In addition, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales often supports other nefarious and illicit businesses.
CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program that targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods. Despite these efforts, the internet has made it easy to find, purchase and ship items from almost anywhere in the world, the agency said.
With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues. The merchandise category with the highest number of IPR seizures continued to be apparel and accessories, resulting in approximately 15% of all IPR seizures in fiscal year 2018.
Editor’s Note: This story was reported by FN sister magazine Sourcing Journal. For more, visit Sourcingjournal.com.
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