China was the most frequent source country last year for all seized products that violated intellectual property rights, followed by Hong Kong and Jordan, according to the ICE/CBP report. The total value of all commodities seized in 2010 was $260.6 million wholesale, $1.4 billion retail. The number of seizures spiked 34 percent from 14,841 seizures in 2009 to 19,959 in 2010, in part due to low-value shipments from websites that sell counterfeit goods direct to consumers.
A bad economy, global expansion of broadband Internet, wide availability of high-performance/low-cost reproduction, and the prevalence of outsourced manufacturing are some of the major factors propelling the explosion in counterfeiting. It’s now incredibly easy for an individual sitting at a computer in the U.S. to tap into an overseas website or server to order counterfeit goods or illegally download the latest DVD. And don’t forget the human propensity to come up with new ways to illegally make money.
“Consumers always look for a good deal, but especially when cash is tight, they look for alternative marketplaces,” said Joseph LaRocca, senior advisor, asset protection at the National Retail Federation. “Criminals are preying on that consumer mentality and marketing these discounted goods to them.”