For more than a year, beginning in January 2014, a distributor in the U.S. placed eleven (11) orders for more than 16,000 pieces of Texas Instruments part number TMS320VC5416ZGU160 from an Israeli distributor and subcontractor servicing the defense, medical and communications industries in Israel. No nonconformities were ever detected during the inspection of these shipments. No complaints or concerns were raised by the U.S. distributor’s end user and sole recipient of all prior shipments. For all intents and purposes, the Israeli and American companies enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship and no one, including the end user, had reason to suspect the goods in question were anything other than genuine Texas Instruments parts. That is, until May 4, 2015, when one of the final three scheduled deliveries containing 4,000 pieces of the aforementioned part worth $46,435.00 was detained and subsequently seized by CBP under Title 19, United States Code, Section (USC) 1595a(C) for bearing a counterfeit trademark. The initial detention notice triggered a flurry of activity that would slow to a crawl, then drag on for ten costly, labor-intensive months and ultimately conclude with the release of the goods. This distributor’s experience captures the significance of goods being correctly classified as authentic or counterfeit, highlights the importance of an open line of communication between CBP and industry, and personifies the struggles business owners are facing that could result in substantial financial loss.
A U.S.-based distributor placed an order with an international supplier for goods that were subsequently inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Because the goods were not properly repackaged, the parts were severly damaged in transit causing a financial loss to the importer. CBP bears no financial responsibility or liability even if their negligence contributed to the damage of the goods.