The officers seized the shipment, which contained more than 5,000 bottles of perfume, after they confirmed the merchandise violated trademark laws.
"CBP officers are actively enforcing trade laws and protecting legitimate business owners and consumers from copyright and trademark infringements," said Acting Houston Director of Field Operations, Judson W. Murdock II. "When we identify products as counterfeit or confusingly similar, we take the necessary steps to protect the consumer and seize the shipment, preventing criminals from profiting from this type of illegal activity."
The shipment arrived at the Port of Houston on January 24. It was bound for Dallas when officers intercepted it to conduct an examination. During their inspection, they found perfumes labeled as Flirt and Sensuous, which are Estee Lauder trademarks. CBP officers sent pictures and samples of the merchandise to CBP headquarters where coordination with the trademark holder confirmed the merchandise was in fact counterfeit. The shipment was seized on February 21.
CBP seizures of counterfeit perfume/cologne increased in value by 471 percent to $9.4 million in fiscal year 2011. This marked increase in seizures is attributed to increased partnerships between CBP and right holders as well as coordinated enforcement efforts.
Seized property specialists will take possession of the seized perfumes. CBP could assess fines and penalties to the importer that could equal the amount of the MSRP value.