U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of counterfeit smartphone digitizers on March 17.
A digitizer is a smartphone’s thin touchscreen affixed above the LED screen that sends user touches to the phone’s processor which translates that touch into an action. Counterfeit digitizers may experience a degradation in touch sensitivity or fail prematurely.
Additionally, manufacturers of most consumer products will not honor repair or replacement warranties of counterfeit copies of their products whether consumers knowingly or unwittingly purchased counterfeits.
CBP officers initially inspected the shipment, manifested as “Mobile Displays,” on February 3. The shipment arrived from Austria and was destined to an address west of Chicago. Officers discovered that the shipment contained a total of 648 Samsung-branded digitizers.
CBP officers suspected that the digitizers were counterfeit and detained the shipment. Officers then submitted documentation and photographs to CBP’s trade experts at the Electronics Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
CBP’s trade experts later verified that the consumer goods were not authentic and that they bore infringing trademarks and copyrights that had been recorded with CBP through the e-Recordation program. Consequently, CBP officers at the Area Port of Philadelphia seized the digitizers.
The counterfeit Samsung digitizers were valued at $128,952 manufacturer’s suggested retail price, had they been authentic.
No one has been criminally charged. An investigation continues.
“We strongly encourage consumers who seek a good deal on a new or used smartphone, or on a touchscreen repair, to not chance it. Consumers should protect themselves by purchasing a phone or repair service from a reputable vendor,” said Joseph Martella, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to protecting American consumers by intercepting counterfeit and pirated goods.”
The international trade in counterfeit consumer goods is illegal. During fiscal year 2022, CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized over 20,812 shipments containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights, which equates to nearly 25 million counterfeit goods. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of all of these seized goods, had they been genuine, was over $2.98 billion, or an average of over $8 million every day.