An enforcement blitz by U.S. and French Customs officials resulted in the seizure of 480 shipments of potentially harmful counterfeit electronic components, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced.
Operation Core Systems, conducted between Nov. 1 and April 30 targeted fake computer and electronic components such as semiconductors, computer networking equipment, hard drives and memory cards that often don't meet performance standards of the original equipment and have much higher failure rates.
It was the third joint operation between the United States and France to enforce intellectual property rights rules.
CBP has made intellectual property rights enforcement a priority trade issue. In fiscal year 2012, computers and computer accessories ranked seventh on CBP's Top 10 list of IPR seizures.
In related news, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named CBP an "IP Champion" for its efforts to protect businesses from theft of their intellectual property; these efforts included multiple operations aimed at counterfeit airbags and busting international counterfeit rings.
In Sept. 2010, CBP officers discovered six boxes containing fake airbags en route to Chattanooga, Tenn. The airbags resembled those of major auto makers and sold online for about $57 each, far less than the cost of an actual airbag. As of February 2012, more than 300 counterfeit airbags worth over $210,000 had been seized in partnership with state, local and federal law enforcement.
Using undercover officers and court-authorized wire taps in March 2012, law enforcement officials successfully brought down two global counterfeiting schemes responsible for distributing more than $300 million in fake goods. Twenty-nine people were arrested for conspiring to smuggle counterfeit goods through Port Elizabeth in New Jersey.
Other winners of the inaugural IP Champions award
include John Morton, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a multi-agency effort to shut down a flea market in Memphis, Tenn. - Eric Kulish