These nationwide and global anti-piracy seizures are just a small sampling of the worldwide efforts by local, state, and federal law enforcement, often collaborating in anti-piracy investigations. While many of these seizures in the past have focused on physical stockpiles of counterfeited CD and DVD recordings, illegal streaming and filesharing technology has radically transformed how law enforcement battles what are now digital piracy concerns. Meanwhile, counterfeit merchandising has exploded in recent years, which has led to stepped-up efforts by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies to stop illegal products from coming into the U.S. from other countries. Local law enforcement also gets involved in cases where illegal products—some of them a threat to public health—are being imported and sold within the U.S.
Today, federal and state anti-piracy efforts tackle digital piracy and the production, transfer and sale of all kinds of counterfeit merchandise, from watches, sneakers, and handbags to counterfeit medicines and vaccines, industrial equipment and beauty products.
2023: January – March |
2022: January – March | April – June | July – September | October – December
Anti-Piracy Seizure Information: January – March 2023
Kentucky | New York | United Kingdom
January 2, 2023 – In Louisville, Kentucky, CBP officers (the U.S. Customs and Border Protection) seized a shipment of counterfeit Chanel earrings, 4,920 pairs in total. The fake earrings, which bore Chanel logos, were confiscated for trademark infringement. They originated in China and were on their way to Maryland. If genuine, the value would have been $1.37 million. The Louisville CBP officers say that they have been seeing nightly shipments of counterfeit jewelry from locations that are notorious for producing fake products.
Between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, CBP officers in Louisville seized more than $260 million in counterfeit merchandise. Three individual seizures of fake jewelry had a value, if real, of $10.13 million. There were 35 seizures of counterfeit watches, the most expensive type of clothing item; if genuine, they would have been worth $36.1 million.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection – January 10, 2023
Kentucky Today – Tom Latek – January 23, 2023
January 12, 2023 – Following an investigation, Nassau County police arrested the owner of Max & Gino’s, a clothing store on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, New York. Police found counterfeit Gucci, Chanel and other luxury brands on display in the store, and this merchandise was confiscated at the same time as the arrest. The owner was charged with trademark counterfeiting in the second degree and ordered to appear in court.
Patch – Alex Costello – January 12, 2023
January 20, 2023 – Trading Standards officers in the U.K., along with company trademark experts, seized hundreds of suspected counterfeit designer products from luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Burberry and Louis Vuitton in a raid on a Kensington shop. This followed allegations that the store was selling counterfeit merchandise. The fake merchandise is valued at approximately £200,000 (U.S. $247,851), if genuine. There were 467 total suspected phony designer handbags, jackets, coats and accessories. Many of the suspected bogus products were found on the floor, with more items discovered in the basement. They were being sold as if they were authentic, with prices ranging from £250 to £1,000 ($309 to $1,238), so consumers did not realize they were counterfeit. If convicted the perpetrator could be sent to prison for up to 10 years and face an unlimited fine, in addition to having any “proceeds of crime” confiscated.
Evening Standard – Miriam Burrell – January 26, 2023
January 27, 2023 – In a single raid, Greater Manchester Police have shut down 13 stores on the city’s notorious “Counterfeit Street.” They were all located in one building that was divided into separate units. The building was deemed unsafe and was condemned and all the units were shuttered. Dubbed Operation Vulcan, this action is part of an effort to dismantle this section of the city where illegal merchandise is regularly sold, including counterfeit perfume, clothing and accessories worth millions of pounds.