30 October 2018Trademarks

US customs seizes Mercedes-Benz counterfeits

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recovered a shipment of counterfeit Mercedes-Benz auto parts which, if authentic, would have been worth approximately $1.8 million.

In a statement released on Thursday, October 25, the CBP said that the counterfeit items were intercepted in Philadelphia. They had been shipped from Yangshan, China, with the intended destination being Newark, New Jersey.

The CBP initially examined the shipment, which was manifested as “Other Parts and Accessories of Motor Vehicles”, in September. Concerns about the quality, origination, and destination of the shipment had led to it being detailed as a possible counterfeit package.

A further concern was the corporate trademark logo which was featured on the auto parts, in combination with the above factors.

CBP officers then seized the shipment on October 17.

An image shared by the CBP showed multiple counterfeit emblems which appear to imitate Mercedes-Benz’s well-known silver star.

According to the CBP, officers routinely review imports at the port in Philadelphia to determine compliance with US import laws. A range of inspection methods and linked computer databases are used to locate and intercept counterfeits, the statement explained.

The CBP said that it collaborates “extensively” with other federal agencies and industry partners, including importers, shippers, terminal operators, and brokers, to develop innovative methods of clearing cargos and ensuring that products meet import or export requirements.

Casey Durst, field operations director of the CBP in Baltimore, said: “Consumer safety is a top priority, and our officers will continue to be vigilant and work cooperatively with our trade partners to identify and seize counterfeit commodities and other unlawful imports that threaten our citizens and markets.”

Auto parts appear to be a favourite for counterfeiters.

Last week, German car maker BMW filed a suit at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, alleging that counterfeiters are using online marketplace eBay to advertise and sell fake BMW-branded products.

In 2016, the FBI found three men guilty of creating and selling nearly 1,000 units of pirated Mercedes-Benz diagnostic software systems.

Also in 2016, a church warden and his wife were sent to prison after admitting to selling fake BMW merchandise worth millions of pounds.

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More on this story

27 June 2016   Three men found guilty of pirating Mercedes-Benz software and selling it on at a discounted price have escaped jail but were fined thousands of dollars following an FBI investigation.
29 October 2018   German car maker BMW has alleged that counterfeiters are using online marketplace eBay to advertise and sell fake BMW-branded products, in a lawsuit filed last week.