By  on March 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they have seized a shipment of counterfeit perfume at the Port of Houston bearing labels under the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. trademark.

Authorities said the counterfeit perfume shipment of 5,000 bottles was valued at more than $344,000.

Officials intercepted the shipment at the Port of Houston on Jan. 24 and found thousands of bottles bearing the Flirt and Sensuous labels owned by Estée Lauder. CBP officers sent photos and samples of merchandise to Washington and coordinated with Estée Lauder to confirm the merchandise was counterfeit, according to Customs.

“CBP officers are actively enforcing trade laws and protecting legitimate business owners and consumers from copyright and trademark infringements,” said Judson W. Murdock II, acting Houston director of Field Operations. “When we identify products as counterfeit or confusingly similar, we take the necessary steps to protect the consumer and seize the shipment, preventing criminals from profiting from this type of illegal activity.”

Customs said seizures of counterfeit perfume-cologne increased in value by 471 percent to $9.4 million in fiscal year 2011. Officials attributed the dramatic increase in seizures to beefed up enforcement efforts and better coordination with rights holders.

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