Counterfeit Guitars Hit Sour Note at Customs and Border Protection

Chicago, Illinois - Chicago Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the O’Hare International Mail Facility have continued to intercept all kinds of counterfeit merchandise arriving from around the world during this past holiday season. This year, in addition to the mixture of fake designer handbags, footwear, watches, and sports team wearing apparel, CBP officers have seized dozens of counterfeit electric and acoustic guitars.

“Our message is for consumers to purchase merchandise from a reputable company. These fake rip-off products hurt the economy, consumer health and safety, and even threaten national security,” said William A. Ferrara, CBP acting director of field operations in Chicago. “Whether it is a counterfeit guitar or a shipment of unsafe Christmas lights, our CBP officers are combating counterfeits to make sure illegal and hazardous goods do not enter the U.S. marketplace or family homes.”

During the past few months and recently, Chicago CBP officers have seized more than 50 electric and acoustic guitars bearing counterfeit trademarks and trade names such as Fender, Gibson, Martin and Taylor. The guitars were single shipments coming to the U.S. from China and valued from $300 - $700 per guitar. CBP officers work with trade systems and trademark holders to determine merchandise legality. The counterfeit guitars were found to have a different feel, look and sound in addition to being of substandard quality.

The enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights is a national agency priority wherein CBP enforces laws and regulations to protect the intellectual property of companies and individuals. Intellectual property includes the trade names, trademarks, copyrights and inventions of companies and individual citizens. Over the past decade, CBP has seen dramatic growth in imports of counterfeited goods. The most commonly seized goods during past holiday seasons include handbags, footwear, wearing apparel, electronics, watches, and Christmas tree lights and electric cords displaying fake Underwriters Laboratory Inc. safety seals.

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