By  on October 6, 2011

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs & Border Protection said Thursday it had seized 30,300 pairs of fake Lacoste sunglasses with a potential street value of $4.5 million in a shipment arriving in Los Angeles from China.

Customs said it made the seizure on Sept. 15 at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port. The counterfeit sunglasses had a wholesale value of $48,000, but officials said the suggested retail price would have been $4.5 million if the sunglasses had been genuine.

Along with the negative effect on legitimate manufacturers, counterfeit sunglasses may not be impact resistant, may cause injury by shattering, and may fail to provide UV protection.

“CBP officers and import specialists at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex aggressively safeguard one of America’s valuable assets, intellectual property,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “The theft of intellectual property poses a serious threat to the vitality of our nation’s economy.”

In fiscal year 2010, CBP at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport accomplished a record-breaking year with 863 trade seizures with a domestic value exceeding $34 million. This is a 42 percent increase in the number of seizures from fiscal year 2009.

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