Last Wednesday, the U.S. and China announced a successful month-long operation resulting in the seizure of over 243,000 counterfeit Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Blackberry, Samsung, Sony, and UL electronics. This was the first joint IPR enforcement operation between the U.S. and China’s customs agencies, and the largest bilateral customs enforcement effort ever conducted by the U.S.
Chinese and U.S. customs officials acted on shared tips and information to seize the fake electronics as they were exported from China from ports including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen or imported into United States ports such as Anchorage, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Newark. In addition, the operation resulted in the arrest of an U.S. citizen who had imported fake Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and then sold them on Craigslist.
Although the U.S. and China praised the operation as a success due to the large number of items seized, media commentators expressed disappointment that it resulted in only one arrest.
In a news release, Thomas S. Winkowski, the Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection expressed an expectation of a “continued partnership” with China “in confronting this critical trade issue.” His Chinese counterpart, Zou Zhiwu, Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs, encouraged customs enforcement agencies worldwide to “work more closely” together to crack down on the movement of counterfeit products.
At the Fifth Strategic & Economic Dialogue, which took place last month in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and China pledged further cooperation on IPR enforcement and committed to additional joint operations.