Clothing/accessories top US customs seizure list again in 2018

US customs’ 2018 annual report on intellectual property seizures is out, with the value of goods detained rising to $1.4bn from $1.2bn in the prior year.

There was a marginal decline in the total number of seizures to 33,810, down around 1 per cent on fiscal 2017, although the prevailing trend has been a steady increase over the last 10 years, with more than twice the number of seizures in 2018 than 2009.

The increase prompted a call to arms from Steve Francis, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, who said the data “makes a compelling case for stepping up efforts to inform and educate the public about the risks counterfeit goods pose to public health and safety.”

He is asking brand owners to participate in a campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of counterfeit goods, to encourage the public to “aid in our efforts to identify and investigate individuals or companies suspected of engaging in the manufacture, shipment, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods.”

Once again clothing and accessories topped the table, accounting for 18 per cent of the total number of seizures, followed by footwear (14 per cent), watches and jewellery (13 per cent), handbags/wallets (11 per cent) and consumer electronics (10 per cent).

By value, the top categories were watches/jewellery (44 per cent), handbags/wallets (16 per cent), pharmaceuticals (9 per cent), clothing accessories (8 per cent) and consumer electronics (6 per cent).

China and Hong Kong were once again the most often reported countries of origin for the seized goods, with 87 per cent of the products claiming to come from these countries (46 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. Other countries were bit part players, with just 2 per cent of seizures originating in Turkey and 1 per cent apiece coming from India and Taiwan.

Looking at the enforcement figures revealed an upward trend across the board with 381 individuals arrested, 296 indictments obtained, and 260 convictions related to IP crimes.

Other highlights of the report include a sharp increase in the shipment of small packages into the US ordered online, with the international mail and express routes accounting for 90 per cent of all IP seizures.

There were also increases in the seizure of computer networking equipment, up 25 per cent to $15.5m in the fiscal year.

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