U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations said this week it had seized millions of dollars worth of counterfeit products imported into Puerto Rico by international mail or courier before and after the holiday season.
CBP estimated the manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of all the counterfeit products confiscated as $15 million had they been real branded goods. The actual street price of the purchased merchandise were it sold as counterfeit, would have been roughly $4.4 million.
Among the fraudulent merchandise CBP officers seized are watches, jewelry, bags, clothing and sunglasses that were illegally using known brands like Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pandora, Tous and Nike.
In a six-day special operation last month, CBP officers intercepted 73 packages with intellectual property rights (IPR) violations valued at an estimated MSRP of $1.8 million.
“Purchasing knock-offs of high-end, high-demand products online does have a great impact on the local economy,” said Leida Colon, assistant director of field operations for trade at CBP. “Unfair and illegal competition dislocates appropriate local business activity, with clear negative effects on local consumers, governments and the potential economic recovery.”
What’s more, CBP said, in many instances, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales supports other nefarious and illicit businesses, the agency noted.
CBP has an aggressive IPR enforcement program that targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods. Despite these efforts, the Internet has made it easy to find, purchase, and ship items from almost anywhere in the world. With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues.
CBP has also established a public campaign to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods.