Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Houston Seaport Jan. 27 intercepted counterfeit AirPods and other electronic devices with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,647,578.
The shipment originated in Taiwan and manifested as “headsets” but when CBP officers examined the shipment, they discovered 17,599 AirPods, Bluetooth wireless earbuds, Bluetooth headsets and watches.
“The dangers of counterfeit products are not limited to economic impacts but may also cause risk to consumers’ health and safety,” said Houston Seaport Port Director Roderick W. Hudson. “Another aspect of the counterfeit world is that forced labor may have been used to produce the products. CBP officers work diligently to ensure products are safe for consumers to purchase. The work they do is important.”
Counterfeit products are likely made with low-quality material and can ultimately cause injuries. Consumer electronics are among the top three products seized by CBP. Manufacturers of counterfeit products are all over the world with a goal to make as much profit as possible selling phony versions of the most popular items on the market. Every purchase of a counterfeit item results in lost profits and U.S. jobs over time.
CBP makes the determination whether a product is counterfeit after conferring with the trademark holder. If the product is deemed to violate intellectual property rights, CBP may seize the product and a penalty may be assessed. In this case, the importer abandoned the merchandise and the goods will be destroyed.
In FY2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments with IPR violations. If the seized products were genuine, the total MSRP of the items would have been valued at over $1.3 billion. Consumers should remember, if the purchase price seems too good to be true – it probably is.
To report suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Intellectual property rights violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.