CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Five separate incidents over the summer at the Port of Charleston have resulted in over $12 million in seized counterfeit water bottles from China according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The merchandise was headed for a California-based drinkware distributor. The bottles were seized due to a due to a violation of the unique shape and style already used by the S'Well Bottle Company.
"The officers that worked these seizures did a tremendous job," Charleston Area Port Director Robert Fencel said in a statement. "It required thorough attention to detail and research to discover this trademark infringement."
Border agents seized 354,597 bottles which copied the company's bottle shape and cap features.If sold without S'Well's permission, it would meet the requirements for counterfeiting and therefore seizure. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the goods seized was calculated at $12,341,820.
Court documents dated Sept. 10 indicate the manufacturer of S'well Bottle, Can't Live Without It, LLC, consented to have the seized products released and allow any future importation of goods by ETS Express, the company that made the seized water bottles.
Attorney Michael Carwin, who represents ETS Express, said the seized bottles were released by Customs shortly after they were seized, pursuant to the court order, because they were not counterfeits.