By Kathryn Lewis
Thousands of counterfeit watches retailing US$83 million (£51.4m) were seized by US customs agents in Texas in the largest seizure in the crossing’s history, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
The seizure was recently finalised according to a statement released yesterday by the agency. More than 7,800 counterfeit Audemars Piguet trademarked watches were seized in late October by the Import Specialist Enforcement Team, a division within US Customs and Border Protection.
This is the second seizure of counterfeit Audemars Piguet watches in the last six months. In July more than 1,000 Audemars Piguet counterfeits, with a retail value of close to US$30 million (£18.6m), were seized at the same border crossing.
“This seizure of $83 million in counterfeit watches is now the largest in port history and is the second multimillion dollar seizure involving the same Audemars Piguet design trademark in less than six months,” said Sidney Aki, CBP port director, Laredo Port of Entry said in a statment. “As we approach the Christmas holidays, seizures like these help reassure both the trade community and the public that CBP remains committed to ensuring that recorded trademarks are protected and the American consumer is protected from counterfeit merchandise.”
The counterfeits were detected by a CBP import specialist during a secondary examination in October. Agents suspected infringement of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Octagonal Bezel Design trademark. A legal review confirmed that the use of their trademark was unauthorised and the goods were seized.
In November, the CBP seized a massive shipment of fake Rolex, Omega, and Breitling watches at a port in New York.