CINNINNATI – Over the past six weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized 1,196 counterfeit keys, key fobs, key fob covers, and decals bearing protected trademarks of multiple vehicle manufacturers. The counterfeit items were found inside six shipments from China enroute to addresses in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and Mexico. CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise confirmed the items were counterfeit.
Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Yamaha were among the manufacturers whose trademarks were used without permission. Many of the items arrived with black tape covering the trademark image, an obvious attempt by the shipper to conceal the violation. Had the items been genuine, the combined Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been $103,101.
“When consumers purchase smart keys for their vehicles, they expect them to work correctly and within the standards that specific manufacturer has designed for optimum performance. However, counterfeit electronic components in smart keys can be faulty or cause unexpected problems ranging from dangerous electrical issues to poor performance,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers are trained to recognize a wide range of trademark and consumer safety violations and ensure that cross-border trade complies with our laws and promotes fair, secure, and safe competition.”
CBP combats trade fraud by detecting high-risk activity, deterring non-compliance, and disrupting fraudulent behavior. The agency coordinates with U.S. industries, 47 U.S. agency partners, and foreign governments to detect anomalies, trends, and violations in the global supply chain to target high-risk shipments and promote compliance.
CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.