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Mainland China and Hong Kong Continue to Account for Vast Majority of IPR Seizures

CBP recently released statistics regarding the volume and value of its seizures of intellectual property rights infringing articles during fiscal year 2015 (October 2014 through September 2015). The total 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 US$1.35 billion following a 30 percent plunge to US$1.22 billion in FY 2014. The average value per seizure fell again, down 11.7 percent to US$46,769.

Express shipment seizures accounted for 51.6 percent (14,897) of all seizures in FY 2015, down from 54.6 percent (12,623) in FY 2014 but up from 46.0 percent (11,196) in FY 2013 and 37.2 percent (8,490) in FY 2012, while mail seizures represented 37.5 percent (10,834) of all seizures during this past fiscal year, up from 31.5 percent (7,300) in FY 2014 and 35.1 percent (8,558) in FY 2013 but down from 43.1 percent (9,852) in FY 2012. Express shipment seizures accounted for a more modest 32.3 percent of all seizures in MSRP terms (US$436.6 million) in FY 2015, up significantly from 26.1 percent (US$319.9 million) in FY 2014, 20.9 percent (US$364.6 million) in FY 2013 and 11.1 percent (US$140.5 million) in FY 2012. While cargo seizures represented only 4.5 percent of all seizures in FY 2015 at 1,287, they accounted for 36.6 percent of the total value of seized merchandise in MSRP terms at US$495.6 million, down from US$592.5 million in FY 2014, US$1,100 million in FY 2013 and US$696 million in FY 2012.

Watches and jewellery remained the most seized commodity by value in FY 2015 while wearing apparel continued to be the most seized item. Watches and jewellery topped the seizure list in terms of estimated MSRP with 42.9 percent of the total or US$580.8 million, up from 30.6 percent or US$375.4 million in FY 2014 and 28.8 percent or US$502.8 million in FY 2013. Handbags and wallets ranked second with a 15.4 percent share or US$208.4 million, down markedly from 27.9 percent or US$342.0 million in FY 2014 and 40.2 percent or US$700.2 million in FY 2013. Wearing apparel and accessories ranked third with an 11.6 percent share or US$157.2 million, up from 9.3 percent or US$113.7 million in FY 2014, while consumer electronics and parts ranked fourth with a 9.8 percent share or US$132.5 million, down from 13.2 percent or US$162.2 million in FY 2014.

Wearing apparel and accessories remained atop the rankings in terms of the total number of seizures with 6,232 in FY 2015, up from 5,948 in FY 2014. Consumer electronics ranked second with a total of 5,326 in FY 2015, down from 5,432 in FY 2014. Following at a distance were footwear with 2,818 seizures in FY 2015 (up from 1,276 in FY 2014), watches and jewellery with 2,754 (up from 1,330), pharmaceuticals and personal care products with 2,301 (up from 1,841), and handbags and wallets with 2,149 (up from 1,260).  

Mainland China again topped the list of IPR infringers in FY 2015, accounting for 51.5 percent or US$697.1 million of the MSRP of seized goods, although this was down significantly from 63.0 percent or US$772.6 million in FY 2014, 67.7 percent or US$1,180.9 million in FY 2013 and 71.8 percent or US$906.2 million in FY 2012. Hong Kong remained in second place with a 34.9 percent share or US$472.3 million, up noticeably from 25.3 percent or US$310.4 million in FY 2014, 25.1 percent or US$437.5 million in FY 2013 and 12.4 percent or US$156.3 million in FY 2012. Singapore climbed from seventh to third position with US$10.3 million in the MSRP of seized goods, followed by India (US$6.4 million), the United Kingdom (US$4.4 million), South Korea (US$3.8 million), the United Arab Emirates (US$3.4 million) and Italy (US$2.8 million).

Mainland China also topped the list of IPR infringers terms of total seizures, with the number of seizures growing from 10,493 in FY 2014 to 14,164 in FY 2015. Hong Kong ranked second with a total of 9,724 seizures in FY 2015, up from 8,667 a year earlier, followed by Singapore with 1,395, Romania with 310 and Turkey with 160.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that CBP completed 152 exclusion order enforcement actions (shipments seized and excluded) in FY 2015, up from 53 in FY 2014. The agency 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. In addition, 62 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, up 57 percent from FY 2014, and five mobile intellectual property enforcement teams made 1,349 seizures of goods with a combined estimated MSRP of more than US$22 million. Moreover, collaboration with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center resulted in 538 arrests, 339 indictments and 357 convictions.

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