You think buying a container of Gucci Looking Pocketbooks from China at a fraction of the cost, is a good investment? You think that buying 6 pallets of Nike Looking Sport Shoes for penny’s on the dollar, is a great way to turn a profit? I know, I know———-our Flea Markets are full of Foreign-Made KNOCKOFFS & LOOK-A-LIKES. But what you don’t know is………………………………..U.S. Customs is the “police” for all Governmental Agencies. One of the main roles of Customs is to “enforce” the laws of the United States. One of their main focuses is to limit the amount of Imitation Products that arrive into the U.S. and Jeopardize the Trademarks & Copyrights of the True Manufacturers. It works like this…………..It is totally impossible for Customs to examine every single shipment of goods arriving into the U.S. So they do some completely arbitrary examinations———they record any Importer or Exporter that is known to conduct business with Illegal Products. And they monitor market trends to flag any Importation of a product that has a high level of illegal Knockoffs, floating around.
In my career————-I can remember 1 time———-My client swore up & down that these pocketbooks were real Liz Claiborne Manufactured Pocketbooks. I just so happen to have been on site, when Customs went to do their examination. I remember the officer saying to me, “Michael look at this purse………..do you see this black stitching inside this purse? Do you see the size of the thread stitches? This is an impostor. We can tell that this is not a true Liz Claiborne product because, they only use Golden Colored Thread on the inside pockets, and the true Liz Claiborne stitches, are much smaller & tighter.”
That plus the fact that Liz Claiborne, does not have a factory in the country that exported this.
I was amazed at how intricate the details are, that Customs is looking at.
Imitation Products—-knock offs———and look-a-likes are stopped by Customs when they are found.
Here is the amazing part. The goods come in—-Customs Examines the goods———–suspects they are knockoffs. Tests the product to verify——then contacts the Trademark Holder or Copyright holder & its up to them to decide if they want Customs to seize the shipment, or let the Impostor-Importer have the goods. Most times, in order to protect their interests, the true manufacturer will advise Customs to Seize the impostor products………….but not always.
Now, this can also complicate shipments that contain true, legal products consigned to LICENSED DISTRIBUTORS of those Trademarked / Copyrighted Items. It is not uncommon for Customs to request to see documentation from the Trademark Holder, confirming that the Importer has the Trademark Holders Authority to import these goods on their behalf.
Should you ever come across either of these situations, please feel free to contact Michael S. Dubin CHB’s team of experts to help you.