Customs agents seize $120K in counterfeit toys at Charleston port

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents seized more than $120,000 worth of counterfeit children's toys that arrived at the Charleston port.

The toys were headed for a North Carolina-based importer, according to Department of Homeland Security spokesman Rob Brisley. The cargo arrived in late June from China, he said.

The shipment contained multiple items bearing trademarks and copyrights registered to The Cartoon Network, Apple Inc., Saban Brands and Danjaq, LLC, he said. Saban Brands owns copyrights to the Power Rangers brand while Danjaq holds rights to "James Bond 007" characters and materials.

"Counterfeiting robs lawful rights holders of their unique ideas and the ability to make a profit from them," CBP Charleston Area Port Director Robert Fencel said.  "It damages legitimate manufacturers and can harm consumers because manufacturers of counterfeit items have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products. In essence, they're trying to make a 'quick buck' off of another party's reputation and ideas."

After agents contacted the rights holders, it was determined that of the 284 cartons of toys in the shipment, 27 cartons containing 34,690 individual items were counterfeit. By definition, counterfeit goods are products using images and branding without the permission of the entities that developed and/or hold legal rights to those images.

Stopping the flow of illicit goods is a priority trade issue for CBP, Brisley said.

Customs officials say the importation of counterfeit merchandise can damage the U.S. economy and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

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