By  on April 26, 2010

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized counterfeit designer sunglasses worth $18.6 million at retail in March and April.

The agency said the glasses seized infringed on trademarks including Versace, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Lacoste, Bulgari, Emporio Armani and Coach. In all, 156,900 pairs of sunglasses were seized in six separate shipments entering the Port of Los Angeles from China between March 13 and April 14, Customs said. The intrinsic value of the goods was estimated to be $151,564.

“Stopping the importation of counterfeit and pirated merchandise continues to be a top priority for CBP,” said Christopher Perry, Custom’s acting director of field operations at the Los Angeles port.

Counterfeit sunglasses not only negatively impact U.S. businesses, but they also pose a health and safety threat because they can shatter more easily and don’t provide ultraviolet protection, Customs said.

In fiscal year 2009, Customs seized $2.9 million worth of fake sunglasses, representing 9 percent of all counterfeit goods seized. Customs confiscated an estimated $260.7 million worth of fake goods last year in 14,841 seizures, the agency noted.

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