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Intellectual Property Rights

Mexican Government, working with ICE, seizes thousands of counterfeit shoes headed to Guatemala and Nicaragua

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting on information provided by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), the Government of Mexico last week seized three containers of counterfeit athletic shoes destined for Guatemala and Nicaragua.

On May 18, 2009, ICE Attaché Mexico City received information from the ICE-led IPR Center that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had encountered a ship carrying three containers destined for Guatemala and Nicaragua via Mexico. Because the containers were not intended for the United States, all three containers were designated "Freight Remaining On Board" (FROB) and no entry paperwork was filed. The shipment, which originated in Hong Kong and was transiting Anchorage, Alaska, en route to Mexico, was found to contain shoes manufactured in China and bearing false trademarks of Nike, Lacoste, Adidas, or Converse.

After the examination, inventory and piece count, all the merchandise was re-stowed on the MV Joanna, which departed the Port of Honolulu in mid-May with its next port-of-call Manzanillo, Mexico. ICE Attaché Mexico City began coordinating with Mexican Government authorities for an the interception and inspection of the three containers.

In Manzanillo, Mexican authorities successfully intercepted and seized the three 40-foot containers, filled with 28,936 counterfeit shoes.

"This operation illustrates how international law enforcement partnerships are our most effective weapon in combating counterfeiters and trademark pirates," said Louie Garcia, ICE Attaché in Mexico City. "We will continue to assist each other in protecting the interests of both our countries."

The ICE attaché and IPR Center will continue to work with their Mexican counterparts to address international IPR crimes that affect both countries.

The ICE-managed IPR Center, which houses agents from partnering agencies, is the U.S. government's central point of contact in the fight against counterfeiters and trademark violators. From its facility in Arlington, Va., the partners 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 seizures by value. Footwear continues to be the top commodity seized, representing 36% of the total value of IPR seizures in FY2008.