Special Report

9 Most Counterfeited Products in America

6. Handbags / wallets
> Percent of total seizures:
> Number of seizures: 2,149
> MSRP of seized goods: $208.4 million

Had they been sold on the U.S. market, the counterfeit handbags and wallets the CBP seized would have been valued at more than $200 million, comprising 15% of the total estimated value of all pirated goods. Finely made designer brands handbags can cost thousands of dollars. The market for these highly desired items with such prohibitively high prices is enormous. In July of last year, the CPB obtained 10,788 counterfeit Gucci and Coach handbags arriving from China in a single shipment. Fake handbags and wallets accounted for 7% of all counterfeit products seized by the CPB in 2015, up from 5% in fiscal 2014.

5. Pharmaceuticals / personal care
> Percent of total seizures:
> Number of seizures: 2,301
> MSRP of seized goods: $75.1 million

Pharmaceuticals are one of the most counterfeited products worldwide. Since quality medicine is often in high demand yet in limited supply and also prohibitively expensive, distributing fake drugs can be very profitable for criminals. The physical harm that counterfeit medicine can cause to consumers adds another dimension to the otherwise mostly economic harms of piracy, Whittenburg explained.

The vast majority of counterfeited goods overall come from China, where a great deal of authentic products also originate. The infringement of pharmaceutical patents is among the major concerns of the United States as the two countries continue to work through trade barriers.

4. Watches / jewelry
> Percent of total seizures:
> Number of seizures: 2,754
> MSRP of seized goods: $580.8 million

While counterfeit watches and jewelry seized in 2015 comprised 10% of total seizures, their estimated value of $580.8 million accounted for 43% of the value of all seized fake products — by far the largest such share of all products. Watches were among the 175,000 items seized in a single shipment last August. The products were valued at more than $100 million, an all time high. Like other luxury goods, watches and jewelry are especially vulnerable to trademark infringement. A replica can serve as a status symbol for those who cannot afford the price tag of the original luxury good.

The problem of imitation jewelry and watches is a major concern for businesses in the industry. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry organized in 2009 an anti-counterfeit campaign, which now holds events annually.