Los Angeles, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the LA/Long Beach Seaport, in coordination with import specialists assigned to the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Center of Excellence (AFT Center), recently seized 14,806 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes. If genuine, the seized shoes would have an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $2,247,680.
CBP Officers in coordination with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assigned at the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC), discovered the shoes while conducting an enforcement exam on a shipment arriving from China. The shoes, which arrived in two containers, were misdeclared as “napkins” in a clear attempt to disguise the illicit cargo.
AFT Center import specialists and the trademark owner confirmed that the shoes were in violation of Nike’s Air Jordan 1 Off-White, Air Jordan 12, Air Jordan 1 (blue, black, red, white), Air Jordan 11, Air Max ’97 protected designs and trademarks.
“Intellectual property theft is a crime that leads to lost revenue for American industry, a loss of American jobs, and often poses a threat to public health and safety,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “CBP is the frontline that protects American ingenuity, without any doubt, one of the most valuable assets of our country.”
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from American intellectual property by selling their counterfeit and piratical goods not only in the U.S. but around the world,” said Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles. “HSI, in conjunction with CBP, target both the domestic and international facets of these criminal conspiracies for disruption and dismantlement.”
These special edition Nike and retro designs are highly coveted by collectors and sport shoes enthusiasts. A legitimate pair can potentially sell for $1,500 dollars and up to $2,000 online. Consumers shopping online are eventually likely to encounter fraudulent sellers.
“Counterfeit brand-name shoes is a multi-million dollar criminal industry. The trafficking of these items is extremely lucrative and becomes more profitable in markets involving successful and popular products.” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP Port Director of the LA/Long Beach Seaport. “CBP commits substantial resources to detect, intercept and seize illicit goods at our nation’s largest seaport.”
The trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises.
CBP focuses on priority trade issues such as intellectual property rights and health and safety, in order to protect American ingenuity and consumers from harmful products.
CBP established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness and consciousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at fakegoodsrealdangers.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov/referral or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.