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Intellectual Property Rights

Counterfeit product seizures up nearly 3% in mid-FY 2008

WASHINGTON - Coinciding with the opening of the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Center in early July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that seizures of counterfeit goods had increased by 2.7 % by the middle of this fiscal year (FY) to $113.2 million compared to $110.1 million in mid-FY 2007.

The number of large-scale seizures also increased: In mid-FY 2008, there were 296 IPR seizures with a domestic value equal to or greater than $100,000 compared to 266 such seizures in mid-FY 2007. The seizures of counterfeit goods that may pose consumer safety or national security concerns in mid-FY 2008 almost matched the value of such goods for the previous fiscal year.

The domestic value of the goods is determined by adding the cost of manufacturing goods in a foreign country to the costs of shipping, insurance and customs duties to enter the United States and, therefore, is lower than the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

"Criminal organizations are not only stealing the trademarks of U.S. businesses, they are siphoning millions of dollars from the American economy and are often deceiving an unsuspecting public," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "These results show that ICE has made protection of U.S. intellectual property rights our trademark."

The new ICE-managed National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which houses agents from ICE and CBP along with the Department of Commerce, Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, is the federal government's central point of contact in the fight against IPR violators. In this state-of-the-art facility, the partners will employ a task force model to more effectively use their authorities and resources to attack the international problem of counterfeit, tainted and substandard goods.

Counterfeit, substandard and tainted products of all kinds come from a number of countries. Chinese products accounted for 85 percent of all IPR seizures by value, or $96.7 million in mid-FY 2008, compared to $89.1 million or 81% at mid-FY 2007. Footwear continues to be the top commodity seized in mid-year FY 2008, representing 36 percent of the total value of IPR seizures.

The mid-Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 intellectual property rights seizure statistics are available on-line at www.cbp.gov.