Counterfeiting threat to small businesses

Many inventors face challenges by counterfeiters who try to destroy their business by copying a small businesses design and stealing their intellectual property. Small business owners and entrepreneurs must be aware of this modern day threat of bootlegging.

Cat Fight! How These Inventors Beat the Counterfeiters That Nearly Destroyed Their Company.

The Big Business of Fashion Counterfeits

Don’t Buy Fake: Help Us Combat Counterfeits

  • Know exactly what you are purchasing and who you are purchasing from.
  • Protect yourself and your family by buying only from reputable sources.
  • If a price for an item seems too good to be true, there is probably a reason. It very likely is a fake.
  • If a website seems suspicious, there is probably a reason for that, too. The operator may be selling counterfeit goods.

“The dangers of buying counterfeit products aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and health and safety risks that are important for you to know before you buy. When traveling, buy from reputable sources.


IPR health and safety infographic

Economic Impacts – Each year, CBP seizes all kinds of counterfeit products from all over the world. Counterfeiters look to make profits by making fake versions of the hottest products as soon they are available on the market. Each time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue. This translates to lost profits and U.S. jobs over time. Know who you buy from.


Health and Safety – Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit. Many counterfeit products are low-quality and can cause injuries. Last year, CBP seized more items that pose health and safety risks than ever before. The top three categories were personal care, pharmaceuticals, and consumer electronics. Protect yourself and your family by avoiding potentially risky items.


IPR products seized infographic


Legal Implications – It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods.  Bringing them into the United States may result in civil or criminal penalties. Purchasing counterfeit goods supports criminal activities such as money laundering and trafficking in illegal guns and drugs. Remember, if it seems like a steal, it is.

E-Commerce – E-Commerce is a growing segment of the U.S. economy and has been increasing significantly for the past several years.  Consumer habits are changing as the internet allows individuals to make purchases online.  These advances in economic activity have led to increasing volumes of imports of small, just-in-time packages, creating inspection challenges for CBP.  E-Commerce shipments pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as containerized shipments, but the volume is higher and continues to grow.  Additionally, transnational criminal organizations are shipping illicit goods to the United States via small packages due to a perceived lower interdiction risk and less severe consequences if the package is interdicted.” (Source: “Fake Goods, Real Dangers”)

Imitating property is theft

What’s Intellectual Property and Does China Steal It?: QuickTake

Record Number of IPR Seizures in FY17 for CBP, ICE

Release Date:
March 5, 2018

The agencies broke last year’s record by 8 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized a record number of 34,143 shipments of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in FY2017. IPR seizures increased 8 percent over FY2016 and for the second year in a row, CBP and ICE seized more than 30,000 shipments of counterfeit and pirated products. The total estimated manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $1.2 billion had the products

IPR backpacks seized by CBP
CBP Charleston Intercepts Counterfeit
Bags Ahead of Back to School

been genuine.

“The theft of intellectual property and trade in counterfeit and pirated goods causes harm to an innovation-based economy by threatening the competitiveness of businesses and the livelihoods of workers,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “Another record-breaking year of IPR seizures highlights the vigilance of CBP and ICE personnel in preventing counterfeit goods from entering our stream of commerce and their dedication to protecting the American people.”