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China continues to pirate American products

This news story was published on January 16, 2012.
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WASHINGTON — Theft of American intellectual property is a serious crime, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) andU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that their vigorous, ongoing efforts to protect America from the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods during fiscal year (FY) 2011 resulted in 24,792 seizures, a 24 percent increase over 2010.

Many fake goods seriously threaten the health and safety of American consumers and our national security. With this in mind, CBP and ICE continued to step up enforcement against these dangerous products resulting in a 44 percent increase in the number of seizures of health and safety products that could have harmed Americans. The value of these seizures soared to more than $60 million due to increases in pharmaceutical and perfume seizures.

Despite the significant increase in the number of seizures, the domestic value for seizures in fiscal year 2011 decreased by five percent to $178.9 million and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price declined slightly to $1.1 billion. This is primarily due to a shift toward using international mail, express courier, and consolidated shipping services to import counterfeit and pirated goods.

“I’m very proud of the unrelenting efforts of the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and our law enforcement partners,” said ICE Director John Morton. “IP enforcement is a high priority for ICE and CBP because the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods robs Americans of jobs and puts their safety at risk, costs legitimate businesses billions of dollars in revenue, and fuels criminal activity. In fiscal year 2012, ICE and CBP will continue to focus on keeping these goods off the streets and bring those responsible for producing and distributing them to justice.”

“The growth of websites selling counterfeit goods directly to consumers is one reason why CBP and ICE have seen a significant increase in the number of seizures at mail and express courier facilities,” said Acting CBP Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “Although these websites may have low prices, what they do not tell consumers is that the true costs to our nation and consumers include lost jobs, stolen business profits, threats to our national security, and a serious risk of injury to consumers.”


China continues to be the number one source country for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for 62 percent or $124.7 million of the total domestic value of seizures.

For the first time since FY 2005, footwear was not the top commodity seized in fiscal year 2011. Consumer electronics were the top commodity seized, and approximately one-third of this category was represented by IPR infringing cellular phones.

The top 10 categories of IPR-infringing products seized were pharmaceuticals, health/personal care, eyewear/parts, critical technology components, electronic articles, cigarettes, perfumes/colognes, batteries, exercise equipment and transportation/parts.

As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling, and distributing counterfeit products. ICE HSI focuses not only on keeping counterfeit products off our streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind such illicit activity.

As the federal agency responsible for the management, control and protection of U.S. borders, CBP is on the frontline of IPR enforcement. The men and women of CBP protect our nation’s economy, the safety of its people, and our national security against harm from counterfeit and pirated goods. The continued vigilance of CBP personnel protects United States citizens and businesses every day.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 19 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit

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3 Responses to China continues to pirate American products

  1. Avatar

    bench jacken winter damen Reply Report comment

    January 17, 2012 at 3:20 am

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  2. John Bunnell

    John Bunnell Reply Report comment

    January 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I’m glad that the government (says) that it is watching out for us. But, let me pose this question, maybe some will answer it. Hypothetically, as an example, what if you wanted to buy a rear light for your bicycle. One of those fancy red do everything lights that flash in several different sequences. You go to your local bicycle shop to check out what they carry, and to get a price. Low and behold they have one, exactly what your looking for. You look it over and happen to notice that it was made in China, but what isn’t these days. Then you notice that it’s $45.00. What the H, $45. for $2.00 worth of plastic. You decide no way, thats to much and leave. You then find one on the internet, almost exactly the same, just a different name on the box. It’s in China, but only $12.00 with shipping. Sure there are shipping charges for your local shop, but thats quite a profit margine, and if you buy in bulk. shipping is less. Your not an overly rich person, so which one do you buy?

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      January 17, 2012 at 7:59 am

      This has been a question now for 40 years John. We can see the results of that answer now in all our communities. The key of course is that anything made in the U.S. will cost more. Why? Our wages, benefits and all are much higher than in China.

      What may appear as the very same thing, a lot of times are not. Your example of the fancy schmancy rear light for the bike, quite possibly is an example of reverse engineering. They go out and get one of ours, and duplicate it to such a degree that is looks and sometimes works like ours. Sometimes. There are cases that a U.S. company will purchase products from jobbers overseas and charge some pretty excessive prices.

      A few years ago, was shopping for a table fan. I had recalled one brand made in the U.S. of a particular style. What looked like the same thing was selling in a local store for half the cost of the U.S. model. The case looked the same, but that is where the similarities ended. The blades were aluminum instead of steel, and the case, a mock brushed steel (it was a cheaper grade of steel made to look like the U.S. item).

      The Chinese are perhaps the largest country out there who openly use reverse engineering in products from air planes to toy trucks. They care not about our patents and intellectual property, nor the jobs associated with their activity.

      It’s far too late to restore the job lost over those 40 years. It is not however, too late to keep what jobs are left here, within the U.S.