December 5, 2019

Cassidy, Tillis, Coons, Hirono Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Seize Counterfeit Products and Protect American Consumers and Businesses

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize imported merchandise that infringes a design patent and harms U.S. consumers and businesses.

According to a recent study, the estimated value of international and domestic trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was over $1 trillion in 2013 and the estimated value is projected to reach nearly $2 trillion in 2022. The Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019 would help reduce the flow of counterfeit goods entering the United States and protect U.S. consumers and businesses from dangerous, harmful, and illegal products.

“Counterfeit products undermine American businesses and put families in danger,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Criminal organizations sell counterfeit goods to fund illegal activity. This Legislation better enables American law enforcement to combat criminal groups and protect Americans.” 

“The inflow of counterfeit goods into the United States is an issue that affects American consumers and businesses alike and results in the American economy losing billions of dollars every year,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize merchandise that infringes on design patents so we can take steps to stem the flow of counterfeit goods and protect American interests.”

“Counterfeit goods brought into the United States from overseas cheat Americans who don’t get the products they expect with their money,” said Senator Coons. “They also pose serious safety risks, line the pockets of organized crime, damage the reputations of legitimate American businesses, and rob them of hard-earned revenue.  I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will empower U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize products for design patent infringement and safeguard American businesses and consumers.”

“Counterfeit products from China and other countries flood our country at an alarming rate. These products steal sales from American companies and damage the brands those companies have worked so hard to build. Even more concerning, counterfeit products put the health and well-being of American consumers at risk,” Senator Hirono said. “While Customs and Border Protection has the authority to seize products that infringe copyrights and trademarks at the border, it lacks this same authority for products that infringe a design patent. Counterfeiters exploit this loophole by importing counterfeit products separately from labels containing an infringing trademark, only attaching the label once the counterfeit product has cleared customs. The Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019 closes this loophole by giving CBP the authority to seize counterfeit products that infringe design patents at the border. This simple change will go a long way toward protecting American consumers and businesses from harm.”

The Intellectual Property Owners Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association wrote a letter of support here. The International Trademark Association also wrote a letter of support here.