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U.S. Customs and Anti-Counterfeiting

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have extensive legal authority to stop, search, and detain persons and cargo arriving into or going out of the United States. U.S. Customs has been particularly vigilant in Florida in enforcing the trademark and copyright laws so that infringing or counterfeit merchandise does not enter the commerce of the United States, or even transit through the United States. Although it is perfectly legal for an arriving international passenger to import one counterfeit item, such as an expensive, fancy watch or handbag, it would be illegal for that same person to attempt to import into the United States two such counterfeit watches or handbags. Customs officers would examine, detain, then seize counterfeit merchandise and place the burden on the owner of the merchandise to explain that it is either not counterfeit or to attempt to obtain the trademark or copyright owner’s approval for Customs to release the merchandise. Nationwide, Customs seizes hundreds of millions of dollars of counterfeit merchandise each year. Moreover, Customs issues millions of dollars of fines against counterfeiters who have already had their merchandise seized and forfeited. Through private customs attorneys, such seizures may be remitted and fines may be cancelled or mitigated.


by Peter A. Quinter, Esq.

Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.

121 Alhambra Plaza

10th Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33134

954.270.1864 Cell

305.442.2232 Fax