(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – with support from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) – have launched an initiative targeting the illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit consumer electronics known to present health and safety hazards by overheating, igniting, and causing severe injuries and extensive property damage.
The operation, named “Surge Protector”, will focus on electronics vulnerable to counterfeiting, including phony digital media devices, power adapters and consumer technology powered by lithium ion batteries. Counterfeit electronics are routinely the second most seized commodity during the course of intellectual property enforcement conducted by ICE and CBP. From Fiscal Year 2013 to FY 2015, homeland security personnel made over 17,000 seizures related to counterfeit consumer electronics, and the new effort will provide additional resources to agents and allow investigators to more effectively track arrests, indictments and convictions surrounding the illicit sale of these items.
Operation Surge Protector is being coordinated by the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which houses both the FBI and HSI intellectual property units. HSI’s IP section has been active in the area of counterfeit consumer electronics by providing support to agents investigating organized fraud and counterfeiting schemes targeting multinational technology companies. There are several dozen active investigations into the illegal sale of fake consumer electronics, as well as multiple pending federal criminal prosecutions brought by DOJ. Click here to read more.