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U.S. Seizure of Jewelry, Watches by Value Drops 25% to $375M

Apr 6, 2015 2:54 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...  The value of all products that were seized by federal law enforcement in 2014 for infringing upon U.S. trademarks, copyrights and patents fell 30 percent year on year to $1.23 billion, with calculations based on manufacturer's suggested retail prices. The total for watches and jewelry amounted to $375.4 million, a year-on-year decline of 25 percent, but this category ranked in first place as the highest commodity class by value. Rounding out the top five  commodity classes by value,  handbags and wallets were second, followed by consumer electronics, apparel and accessories, and  pharmaceuticals and personal care.

The number of seizures for all categories fell just 0.4 percent year on year to 28,092; however, the number for the watches and jewelry category jumped 12 percent to 1,937.

Products arriving from China represented 63 percent of the seized products at $772.6 million, followed by Hong Kong at 25 percent, or $310.4 million, and Canada at 1 percent or $12.5 million. No other region alone accounted for more than 1 percent of the annual value. During the year, federal agencies made 683 arrests, with 454 indictments and 461 convictions in relation to products that violated U.S. intellectual property rights.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which manages the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said the overall decline in product seizures was the result of an aggressive enforcement program  designed to target counterfeit and pirated goods.

“Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical part of CBP’s trade enforcement mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. The department developed strong partnerships with other federal enforcement agencies, targeted high-risk shipments and boosted frontline interceptions of cargo at U.S. ports, he said.

ICE’s director, Sarah Saldaña, said, “To be clear, intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime. The victims are U.S. businesses and the employees whose jobs are dependent on IP-intensive industries. Counterfeiting is a crime of global proportions, and when property rights are violated, American jobs are lost, business profits are stolen and ultimately, consumers are cheated.”


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Tags: counterfeit, homeland security, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, property rights, seizure, shipments, violation, watches
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