Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Seizure of Counterfeit Goods on the Rise/Identity Theft Increasing, Too

Local Customs is fond of saying that about half the intellectual property rights seizures in the U.S. occur at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Nonetheless, stories about significant counterfeit seizures are being publicized in the general press throughout the country. The latest such story involves 20,000 pairs of jeans imported from China at the Port of Norfolk, VA. For more details, see,0,2330264.story

What Customs has also discussed publicly is the rise in identity theft which is occurring. What happens is the good name of an existing company is appropriated and misused. It might be a large company, but more typically, it is not. Here is an example. A shipment of brand name shoes or jeans is put in a container and shipped to a company in the U.S. but called something else, such as plastic toys. Let's call the consignee USA Co., Inc. USA Co., Inc's real address is in New York City.  The bogus shipment will either be addressed to USA Co. Inc. at another address or be sent in care of exporting forwarder's U.S. agent. In the case of the changed address, it could be something as simple as transposing the number, instead of 12345 S. Main St., the address on the documents might be 15423 S. Main St.  Another typical ploy is for the goods to be sent to USA Co. Inc. at a warehouse in San Francisco and if anyone asks, the answer is they are going to a distribution center. Sometimes, the real address is on the documents, but the local forwarder's agent is given a specific telephone number to call when the shipment is ready to be released which turns out to be the cell phone number of an accomplice to the fraud.

With the advent of the Importer Security Filing, it is possible these sorts of scams will be reduced, but the creativity of thieves and other bad guys will surely find some other way around the system, such as finding destination agents who knowingly participate in the illegalities or just don't ask enough questions before handling a shipment.  

Think the creativity of the "bad guys" is dormant? How about the four (4) shipments of heroin discovered at the DHL hub near Chicago? They were shipped as books going from Iran to Canada. See for more details.

How are you protecting your company?

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