Officers of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency, conducting express consignment operations in Indianapolis, seized more than 1,900 pieces of counterfeit Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Tous jewelry on May 31, CBP said Thursday.
The counterfeit jewelry has an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2.99 million. It was seized in a shipment from China en route to Texas, CBP said.
The agency said consumers in the U.S. can shop with greater confidence knowing CBP is preventing counterfeit merchandise from entering the country.
“Protecting intellectual property rights is an important part of the CBP mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Timothy Hubbard, chief CBP officer. “Our CBP officers and import specialists work diligently to protect businesses, consumers and our economy every day by combating the trade of counterfeit and pirated goods through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program. This seizure is a fine example of that commitment.”
The enforcement of intellectual property rights is a CBP “Priority Trade Issue” that represents high-risk areas that can cause significant revenue loss, harm the U.S. economy or threaten the health and safety of the American people.
The federal government seizures involving IPR infringements increased nearly 25 percent in fiscal year 2015, with apparel and accessories the top categories. The collaborations between CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations netted 28,865 seizures of shipments, an increase from 23,140 in fiscal year 2014.
Had these products been genuine, the estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the seized goods would have been more than $1.35 billion.
Apparel and accessories, along with watches and jewelry, were the top two product categories for number of IPR volatile shipments seized. Watches and jewelry along with handbags and wallets were at the top of the list for MSRP value.Tactical interagency collaboration with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center resulted in 538 arrests, with 339 indictments and 357 convictions.
China remained the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for a total estimated MSRP value of $697 million, or 52 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.