U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Port of Cincinnati seized 85 watches last week deemed to be counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
CBP said the watches originated from a plastic goods company in Hong Kong, transited through a freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia and were ultimately destined for an apartment in New York City. All of them displayed the protected Rolex trademark.
The total declared value was listed as $402, but had the 85 watches been real, the cumulative manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $5.84 million.
Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard and potentially dangerous.
“Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for an unusually low price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases,” Cincinnati port director Richard Gillespie said. “Our officers are dedicated to preventing counterfeiters from defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.”
In a separate incident, CBP officers working at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas seized counterfeit children’s pajama sets on Jan. 21 with an MSRP of $138,618.
CBP officers intercepted a shipment containing 91 counterfeit pajama sets, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Fendi and Versace that originated in the Philippines and were destined for Leander, Tex.
When the shipment arrived at the Austin port of entry, it was manifested as clothes. However, CBP officers discovered various designer marked counterfeit pajama sets. They took images of the items for the trademark holders, which immediately advised that the items were substandard and in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR). With this information, CBP officers seized the items.
Nationwide in fiscal year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated IPR. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion.