Officials seize $22M in designer knock-offs

May 19, 2008 10:55:11 PM PDT
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced today that they recently seized more than $22 million in merchandise from China at the Port of Oakland.

Customs officials said that on May 9 officers inspected shipping containers which had recently been unloaded from the M/V Kota Salam, which had arrived from China.

According to Customs officials, the goods had been manifested as luggage but an inspection of the cargo by Customs officers revealed counterfeit Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Versace, Juicy Couture and other fraudulent brand name merchandise.

Customs officials said labels for various designers were also found hidden three suitcases deep, with one inside the other. The labels are normally tagged onto a cheaply made product to make it seem like it's an authentic item, according to Customs officials.

Richard Vigna, the Customs' director of field operations for the San Francisco area, said, "The manufacturing of fake products for sale takes millions of dollars away from the trademark holder. Diligent work by Customs officers across the nation helps to end this type of fraudulent activity."

Customs officials said they've launched an initiative to combat terrorism and trade fraud, which is called is the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

They said it is a joint government and business initiative that builds cooperative relationships to strengthen the overall trade supply chain along with border security enforcement.

Dora Murphy, Customs' acting port director, said, Customs and Border Protection "works closely with importers, brokers, carriers, warehouse operators and manufacturers to enforce national regulations for imported goods."

Customs officials said they seize millions of dollars in intellectual property rights merchandise at seaports throughout the nation for registered and recorded trademark holders.

They said the Port of Oakland is one of the top ten seaports in the U.S. in terms of receiving foreign containers, getting between 20,000 and 30,000 importations per month for processing into the U.S. economy.


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