IPR Infringing Goods Seizures Increase in Number and Value in FY 2015

Excerpt from: Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg | April 19, 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released statistics showing that both the number and value of its seizures of goods infringing intellectual property rights increased significantly in fiscal year 2015. Watches and jewelry extended their lead as the most seized commodity by value, wearing apparel continued to be the most seized item by number, and China and Hong Kong continued to account for more than three-quarters of the value and number of IPR seizures.

Value and Number of Seizures. The number of IPR seizures jumped nearly 25 percent to 28,865 a year after a five percent drop to 23,140. The value of IPR seizures in terms of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price rose ten percent to $1.35 billion following a 30 percent plunge to $1.22 billion in FY 2014. The average value per seizure fell again, down 11.7 percent to $46,769.

Other statistics of note include the following.

collaboration with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center resulted in 538 arrests, 339 indictments and 357 convictions

CBP completed 152 exclusion order enforcement actions (shipments seized and excluded), up from 53 in FY 2014

62 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, up 57 percent from FY 2014

five mobile intellectual property enforcement teams made 1,349 seizures of goods with a combined estimated MSRP of more than $22 million

CBP seized 550 shipments containing labels and tags bearing counterfeit trademarks or constituting piratical copies intended to be applied to articles after importation to create non-genuine products

CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations utilized the IPR Strike Unit ten times (the ISU focuses on real-time enforcement and informed compliance to build better cases against IPR violators and improve future compliance)

Commodities Seized. The top categories of products seized in FY 2015 were as follows.


Value of seizures

Percent change

Number of seizures

Percent change

Watches and jewelry

$580.8 million




Handbags and wallets

$208.4 million




Wearing apparel and accessories

$157.2 million




Consumer electronics and parts

$132.5 million




Pharmaceuticals and personal care items

$75.1 million





$65.0 million




Computers and accessories

$38.4 million




Optical media

$32.5 million




Labels and tags

$33.3 million





$9.8 million




Source Countries. China and Hong Kong together accounted for 87 percent of the total MSRP value of seizures, down from 88 percent in FY 2014. China alone represented 52 percent at $697.1 million (down 9.8 percent), followed by Hong Kong at $472.3 million (up 52.5 percent).

The United Kingdom ($4.36 million), Italy ($2.85 million) and Malaysia ($2.35 million) are new to the top 10 list of source countries by value this year, while Taiwan, Vietnam and Kenya fell out. Other top source countries by value included Singapore ($10.3 million, up 305 percent), India ($6.41 million, up 15.7 percent), Korea ($3.79 million, up 50.7 percent)), United Arab Emirates ($3.43 million, down 9.5 percent) and Canada ($1.98 million, down 84.2 percent).

China and Hong Kong also accounted for a combined 83 percent of the total number of seizures, up from 82 percent in FY 2014. The top five list of source countries by number of seizures includes China (14,164, up 35.0 percent), Hong Kong (9,724, up 12.2 percent), Singapore (1,395, up 190.0 percent), Romania (310, not in FY 2014 top five) and Turkey (160, down 64.2 percent).

Shipping Environments. Seizure statistics by shipping environment are as follows.


Value of seizures

Percent change

Number of seizures

Percent change

Express consignment facilities

$436.6 million





$94.0 million





$495.6 million





$326.3 million





$1.35 billion