As widespread theft of intellectual property continues on a global scale, an increasing number of counterfeits and pirated goods produced overseas are directed to the U.S. market.  While this is not a new phenomenon, it merits continued vigilance on the part of intellectual property rights (“IPR”) holders and law enforcement agencies.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, twenty four percent (24%) more seizures of counterfeits and pirated goods were made during fiscal year 2011 than in FY2010.

Not only do imitation products economically impact the legitimate rights holders, such goods can also pose serious dangers to the health and safety of consumers.  One obvious example would be pharmaceuticals, but the dangers extend to electronics, cosmetics, and other products.

Interestingly, CBP reported an apparent shift towards using international mail, express courier, and consolidated shipping services to import counterfeits and pirated goods.

Consumer electronics were the top commodity seized, followed by footwear and pharmaceuticals.

For more statistics on Customs and Border Protection IPR Seizures, click here.

For the FY2011 U.S. CBP IPR Seizures Graphic, click here.