By  on January 9, 2012

WASHINGTON — Counterfeit apparel topped the list of seizures by volume made by federal authorities in fiscal year 2011, as the number of bogus apparel seizures increased 3,050 from the previous year, according to a report released Monday.

When measured by domestic value, consumer electronics was the top counterfeit commodity seized by U.S. officials, with a total value of $38.9 million. Counterfeit apparel, by domestic value, ranked fifth in seizures, the report released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement showed.

U.S. officials made 7,392 seizures of fake apparel in the year ended Sept. 30, accounting for 25 percent of the total and up from 4,338 a year earlier. The estimated total domestic value of counterfeit apparel seized was $14.7 million and the estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price was $126.2 million.

“IP [intellectual property] enforcement is a high priority for ICE and CBP because the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods robs Americans of jobs and puts their safety at risk, costs legitimate businesses billions of dollars in revenue and fuels criminal activity,” said John Morton, director of ICE.

Seizures of counterfeit handbags, wallets and backpacks ranked fourth in seizures by volume, or 10 percent of all goods confiscated. Authorities made 2,978 seizures in that category, compared with 2,702 in the year-earlier period.

The number of fake footwear seizures fell to 1,772 from 2,119 in the year. It was the first time in five years that counterfeit footwear seizures by domestic value was not the top commodity seized. The domestic value of footwear confiscated was estimated at $25.2 million and the estimated MSRP was $96.9 million.

Seizures of counterfeit perfume and cologne ranked sixth in domestic value at $9.4 million and an estimated MSRP of $50.9 million.

U.S. Customs and ICE officials said the total number of counterfeit and pirated product seizures rose 24 percent to 24,792 in the year, but the domestic value fell 5 percent to $178.9 million and the MSRP declined slightly to $1.1 billion, primarily due to a shift toward the use of higher volume, lower valued products imported by international mail, express courier and consolidated shipping services, the report said.

China maintained its status as the number-one source of counterfeit products and pirated goods confiscated, accounting for 62 percent, or $109.9 million of the total domestic value. The number of seizures from China rose to 13,592 from 12,200 a year earlier.

The majority of counterfeit fashion items came from China, with footwear accounting for 20 percent of the $109.9 million, apparel for 9 percent, perfume and cologne for 8 percent, and handbags, wallets and backpacks for 4 percent.

Hong Kong was responsible for $32.1 million in counterfeits, with handbags accounting for 9 percent of the total value. Bogus apparel seizures accounted for 13 percent of Pakistan’s $3.9 million, while counterfeit perfume and cologne made up 5 percent of India’s $4.3 million in fakes.

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