On April 7, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati inspected a large shipment from China and found what appeared to be 242 fake Cartier Love bracelets. After consulting with an Import Specialist from CBP’s Center of Excellence and Expertise, the items were found to be in violation of CBP trademark and copyright codes and were declared seized on April 14.
Cartier has configuration trademarks on their Love bracelet and has recorded those trademarks with CBP. Furthermore, a company does not have to put a “Cartier” wordmark or design on their products to violate these trademarks. In this instance, further inspection of the bracelets revealed that their shape and design replicated the protected Cartier configuration.
Although the package had a total declared value of $59, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for all the bracelets would have been $3,583,200 had they been genuine. The shipment was destined for an address in Greenfield, Indiana.
“Counterfeiters do not care about the consumers purchasing their products,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie, “nor do they care about the people making their products. Purchasing counterfeit goods not only damages our small businesses and enterprises, but also supports criminal institutions that often engage in human rights violations such as child labor and forced labor. Intellectual property is a critical component of a stable economy, and our officers work hard to protect our country and its citizens’ financial wellbeing.”
There are several ways consumers can protect themselves from purchasing fake merchandise. Companies often publish lists of authorized retailers online, and consumers should be aware that purchasing from an unauthorized vendor could easily mean the product is fake. Read all labels and check serial numbers or other forms of authentication with manufacturer databases. Additionally, using common sense about purchases that seem so cheap they are “too good to be true” can prevent consumers from wasting their hard-earned cash on an inferior product. Although fake products may be cheaper, supporting illegitimate enterprises can be far more costly than the real thing.
If you have information concerning counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an anonymous report through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.