A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Louisville CBP officers seeing significant increase in number of counterfeit jewelry shipments

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville are seeing nightly counterfeit jewelry shipments arriving from locations known to produce fakes.

On January 2, Louisville CBP seized a shipment of jewelry deemed to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts.

Counterfeit earings confiscated at Port of Louisville Jan. 2. (Photo form U.S. CBP)

CBP officers examined the shipment to determine the admissibility of the goods and discovered the shipment contained 4,920 pairs of earrings with Chanel logos. While the shipment was manifested as stud earrings, they were seized for infringing Chanel’s protected trademarks. The earrings, arriving from China and heading to Maryland, would have been worth a total of $1.37 million had they been genuine.

“This just goes to show you how criminals are using express consignment facilities to ship their items to unsuspecting consumers, damaging our economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “I want to congratulate our Officers for their outstanding job. CBP is the first line of defense, and we will continue to protect the safety of consumers.”

The rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits that are illegally sold worldwide. Counterfeit costume jewelry bearing famous brands such as Chanel have been found to contain lead and other toxic materials that are dangerous to human health.

Intellectual property is a critical component of the U.S. economy, and Thomas Mahn, Louisville Port Director, emphasized the necessary role CBP plays in protecting the economy and consumer safety and health.

“Legitimate trade strengthens our economy,” said Mahn, “but counterfeit and pirated goods threaten American jobs and innovation. Protecting intellectual property rights remains a priority trade issue for CBP, and our officers are committed to protecting American consumers and our economic security.”

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers associated with purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods online or in stores. More information about that initiative is available at www.cbp.gov.

Brand owners wishing to partner with CBP to prevent the importation of counterfeit and substandard goods should visit iprr.cbp.gov for information about the e-Recordation program.

For more ways to protect yourself from counterfeit and pirated goods, visit www.stopfakes.gov.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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