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Nike Is Serious About Keeping Counterfeits From Getting Past Customs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a new formal partnership arrangement with Nike Inc. on Thursday as part of its Donations Acceptance Program.

Under its partnership with CBP, Nike is donating proprietary technology to aid in authenticating a variety of its merchandise and to prevent counterfeit products from entering the United States. CBP and Nike, which has been a key target of million of dollars of counterfeit sneakers over the years, will test the tool at a limited number of international mail and express consignment facilities.

The Donations Acceptance Program enables CBP to accept tools and technology to enforce intellectual property rights. The program was established in 2015 to explore, foster and facilitate partnerships for port of entry infrastructure and technology improvements.

The Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2016 gives CBP the ability to implement this initiative it and the General Services Administration to collectively accept donations of real property, personal property, money and non-personal services from private sector and government entities. CBP said public-private partnerships are a key component of its Resource Optimization Strategy and allows the agency to provide new or expanded services and infrastructure at domestic ports of entry.

“As criminal organizations use proceeds from counterfeit sales to fund other illegal activity, our partnerships help strengthen our border security posture through innovation and resource optimization,” Diane Sabatino, deputy executive assistant commissioner of the CBP Office of Field Operations, said. “Our partnerships with stakeholders are vital to CBP’s enforcement mission and continued success in protecting U.S. businesses and consumers from counterfeit goods.”

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Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of businesses, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers, CBP said. To deter the importation of illicit goods and protect U.S. consumers and businesses, CBP has developed a proactive, aggressive and dynamic enforcement approach to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP personnel nationwide seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine. CBP’s enforcement efforts are strengthened by stakeholder collaboration and innovative approaches such as the CBP and Nike partnership.

The industry as a whole has made combating counterfeits a top priority, and legislative efforts are taking aim at the platforms hosting faux goods online.

On Thursday, the American Apparel & Footwear Association applauded the reintroduction of the SHOP SAFE Act, a bipartisan bill establishing trademark liability for online marketplace platforms when a third-party sells a counterfeit that poses a risk to consumer health or safety and fails to follow best practices.

“The SHOP SAFE Act would provide a baseline for all online marketplace platforms when it comes to fighting counterfeits and ensuring consumer safety,” Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said of the bill, which also aims to encourage online platforms to establish best practices such as seller vetting to ensure their legitimacy, removing counterfeit listings, and removing sellers who repeatedly sell fake goods. “This is a step in the right direction to make sure all platforms address the issue of counterfeits on their sites. Creating a liability requirement would go a long way to ensure that platforms meet their responsibility to their customers.

“More must be done to ensure that the products Americans purchase by way of online third-party marketplaces are legitimate, meet safety standards, and do not steal intellectual property that supports American jobs. The SHOP SAFE Act brings this conversation to the forefront of peoples’ minds,” Lamar added. “AAFA looks forward to working with Members of Congress to ensure that this bill not only sets standards for e-commerce, but that it also creates liability measures and promotes a culture of continuous improvement that is needed to stay one-step ahead of counterfeiters.”