U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis and Louisville this week seized 178 counterfeit championship rings and 171 counterfeit professional sports jerseys that, if genuine, would have had value combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $288,350.
The first shipments arrived on the night of July 11, when CBP agents in Indianapolis discovered 108 counterfeit jerseys from multiple teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Football League ( NFL). These counterfeits were all destined for a residence in Bakersfield, California.
Meanwhile, CBP officers in Louisville were preventing 63 counterfeit MLB jerseys from reaching their destination, a residence in University Park, Illinois. The following night, CBP officers in Louisville discovered a shipment bound for West Chapel, Florida that contained 178 counterfeit championship rings from MLB’s Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis, Boston Celtics of the NBA and the University of Georgia.
All of the shipments arrived from various locations in China, CBP noted. Officers found them all to be counterfeit based on various observations, such as incorrect description of goods, declared value, packaging, poor quality materials, substandard printing, and demonstrated practices such than shipping a commercial quantity of items to a residential address.
“Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the country who may be duped into paying high prices for inauthentic products,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of field operations. at the Chicago Field Office. “I am extremely proud of these officers’ determination to stop illicit shipments and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”
CBP said the rapid growth of e-commerce makes it easy for consumers to search and purchase millions of products through online sellers, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated products more ways to enter the market. American economy. Counterfeit products fund smugglers and organized crime members, while consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but quickly realize the item is substandard.
“Counterfeiters only care about making a profit,” said Thomas Mahn, Port of Louisville Director. “They don’t care what effect their fake product has on you, your family, or the economy. Our officers are well trained to find seizures like these to further our mission of protecting the American public.”
In fiscal year 2021, CBP seized 27,107 shipments with violations related to intellectual property rights (IPRs). If the seized products were genuine, the total MSRP of the items would have been valued at over $3.3 billion. This represents a 152% increase from 2020, when goods worth MSRP $1.31 billion were seized for IPR infringement.
A return to pre-pandemic trade levels and an overall increase in the number of counterfeit product seizures by CBP account for the significant increase in MSRP. Additionally, adversaries seek to exploit an increase in volume, threatening U.S. economic interests with risks in the form of IPR infringement, as well as security risks from shoddy and untested consumer products. In 2021, 89% of IPR seizures were found in express shipments and international mail shipments.
Last year, apparel and accessories topped the list for the number of seizures with 30,681, accounting for 30% of all IPR seizures, CBP said. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit products harm the US economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity.