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The sheer volume of counterfeit goods being trafficked, particularly via small consignments, requires a concerted effort in order to successfully fight the problem, argues Travis Johnson of the IACC.
In fiscal year 2014, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency made more than 23,000 seizures on the basis of intellectual property violations. Nearly 20,000 of those involved shipments sent via international mail or express consignments, with a total value of more than $380 million.
Those numbers are perhaps more surprising when we look back just nine years. In FY 2007, express and postal imports accounted for fewer than 10,000 seizures in the US, or roughly half of what we see today. While cargo shipments still account for approximately half of customs’ IP-related seizures, in terms of value in any given year there appears to be a clear trend towards a direct-to-consumer distribution model for the trafficking of counterfeit goods. What does this trend mean for rights owners and enforcement personnel?
With the rapid growth of legitimate online commerce, and consumers’ increased comfort doing business at a distance with unknown sellers, the concurrent growth of counterfeit sales online should surprise no-one. But the e-commerce model has also removed the need for counterfeiters to use traditional multi-layered distribution chains.
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Travis Johnson, IACC, CBP, US Customs and Border Protection, counterfeit, trademark,