U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized a record number of 34,143 shipments of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in FY2017. IPR seizures increased 8 percent over FY2016 and for the second year in a row, CBP and ICE seized more than 30,000 shipments of counterfeit and pirated products. The total estimated manufacturers' suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $1.2 billion had the products been genuine.
As the U.S. border enforcement agencies charged with safeguarding the public against IPR violations, CBP and ICE have worked together closely on IPR related enforcement. In FY2017, cooperation between these two agencies led to 457 arrests, while ICE pursued and obtained 288 indictments with 242 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.
"The illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit goods not only threatens the economy, but also presents significant health and safety hazards to consumers and funds international criminal organizations involved in forced labor, drug trafficking and other illicit activities," said ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan. "ICE agents are committed to effectively collaborating with CBP, industry representatives and law-enforcement agencies around the world to ensure the integrity of the American supply chain, and the agency will move to prosecute those who violate IPR laws and regulations."
E-Commerce shipments pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as containerized shipments, but the volume is higher and growing. Of the more than 34,000 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods in FY2017, approximately 90 percent were in the express carrier and international mail environments.
In FY2017, approximately 12 percent of the total seizures were health, safety and security related counterfeit merchandise. Some of these seized products may have posed health and safety threats and others may have posed a significant security risk to consumers.
The merchandise category with the highest number of IPR seizures continued to be wearing apparel and accessories, resulting in approximately 15 percent of all IPR seizures in FY2017.
The top two economies for IPR infringing seized goods in FY2017 were The People's Republic of China and Hong Kong. At approximately 48 percent of the IPR violation seizures, CBP seized 16,538 shipments from China with a total estimated MSRP of $554.6 million. At approximately 39 percent out of the IPR violation seizures, CBP seized 13,357 shipments from Hong Kong with an estimated MSRP of $386.2 million.
CBP developed and ran “The Truth Behind Counterfeits” public awareness campaign that reached an estimated 97 million travelers in FY2017 to inform of the legal, economic and public health and safety impacts of importing IPR infringing merchandise into the United States. The ads were designed to educate travelers on the unknown dangers of counterfeit goods, alert them that purchasing counterfeit goods may support criminal activity, and encourage them to shop from reputable sources.
CBP and ICE remain vigilant in targeting shipments containing IPR-infringing goods, levying civil fines and criminally investigating those who seek to violate our trade laws, harm the American people and damage the U.S. economy.
The full CBP's IPR seizure statistics for FY 2017 are posted on CBP.gov at /document/report/fy-2017-ipr-seizure-statistics.
If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations website or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. IPR violations can also be reported to National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.
For additional information on CBP’s IPR enforcement efforts and results from FY2017, visit CBP.gov.