PORTAL, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Portal are calling the seizure of more than $10 million in imitation Beats headphones the North Dakota and Minnesota region's largest bust of counterfeit goods this year.
Agents seized 24,660 counterfeit headphones with an illegitimate trademark at the Portal port of entry on Nov. 16, the Minot Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/J518yc ). The total value is based on the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $437 per pair.
The headphones were manufactured in China, shipped across the Pacific Ocean and landed at a port in Vancouver on Canada's western seaboard. From there they were shipped in a container on the Canadian Pacific rail line to enter the U.S. through Portal, one of only two land ports with rail capabilities in the state.
Brian King, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, said shipping documents show the headphones would have continued on to Chicago and from there would have probably been distributed by truck or air throughout the U.S.
"There were no arrests made and we're not at liberty to provide any manufacturer or importer information," King told the newspaper. "Basically, seizure of the goods is the course of action we take at the border."
King said customs agents in Chicago will investigate further.
He said gut feelings led to the find.
"The shipper information and the importer information drew scrutiny and then once our officers searched the container we could tell that there was some labeling that appeared not correct," King said. "So then we verified if that shipper had a licensing agreement to ship that product. They did not and that is how we were able to determine if the goods are valid or not."
Between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2012, border agents made 22,848 intellectual property right infringement seizures of $1.26 billion in goods, and 72 percent of those goods originated in China.
King said intellectual property rights enforcement is a priority mission for the agency, as because infringement on those rights threatens the U.S. economy and hurts consumers who buy products that aren't up to a certain standard.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com