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Intellectual Property Rights

ICE, CBP increase seizure totals of counterfeit and pirated goods in 2008

WASHINGTON - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today fiscal year 2008 seizures totaled more than $272.7 million in counterfeit and pirated goods, a 38 percent increase in domestic value over FY 2007.

The statistics reveal a dramatic rise in seizures of counterfeit products potentially threatening the health, safety and security of Americans, and reflect the emphasis CBP and ICE have put on protecting the United States from the dangers of these products. Among the products seized for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations that might also pose health, safety or security risks were electrical articles, semiconductors, computer network hardware, sunglasses, pharmaceuticals, and perfume. The domestic value of such seizures jumped more than 120 percent to $62.5 million and the number of these seizures climbed 50 percent to 1,950. In FY 2007, CBP and ICE made 1,295 seizures of potentially dangerous counterfeit goods valued at almost $28 million.

"The hard work of the men and women of CBP and our close partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have made a significant impact on our ability to protect intellectual property rights at our borders," said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. "CBP is improving the effectiveness of IPR enforcement by focusing on imports at high risk for counterfeiting and piracy, especially those that threaten the health, safety or security of the American people."

"ICE, CBP, and our partners' work combating counterfeiting protects both the vital economic interests of the United States, and more importantly, public safety as we ensure that potentially dangerous items are not introduced into American homes," said John P. Torres, Homeland Security's Acting Assistant Secretary for ICE. "Our increasing success in identifying and seizing counterfeit goods from the stream of commerce and prosecuting the individuals who attempt to circumvent our nation's laws serves as a strong deterrent to others who wish to turn a profit at the expense of consumer safety."

The number of IPR seizures also increased by nearly 10 percent from 13,675 in FY 2007 to 14,992 seizures in FY 2008. China, the number one source country in FY 2008 for counterfeit goods seized, accounted for $221.6 million or 81 percent of the total domestic value of IPR seizures. The value of seized counterfeits from China rose 40 percent compared to FY 2007. India came in second accounting for six percent in the value of seized counterfeit goods. The IPR seizure report lists the top 10 source countries.

The agencies' annual report on IPR seizures is now available on the CBP Web site.

The report also lists the top 10 types of counterfeit goods seized. Footwear was the top commodity seized, accounting for $103.3 million or 38 percent of the total value of IPR seizures.

As the federal agency responsible for U.S. border enforcement, CBP is a key player in IPR enforcement. CBP's IPR enforcement focuses on improving risk analysis to enhance the capability to target and interdict shipments of fake goods while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade; identifying business practices linked to importing counterfeit goods and working with companies to change those practices; using audits to deprive counterfeiters and pirates of their profits; working with IPR holders to protect their rights; and cooperating with other government agencies, foreign customs administrations and international organizations to strengthen IPR enforcement around the world.

As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE plays a significant role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling, and distributing counterfeit products. 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 Computer Crime And Intellectual Property Section, 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 employ a task force model to more effectively use their authorities and resources to attack the international problem of counterfeit, tainted and substandard goods. For more details on ICE's IPR Center, visit the ICE website at http://www.ice.gov.

For more details on the FY 2008 CBP, ICE intellectual property right seizures, visit the CBP website.