Counterfeiting doesn’t pay, but thanks to government incentives, reporting counterfeiters does.
Each year, more than 25 million containers enter the United States. Many contain illegal counterfeit goods. The government depends on tips from private citizens to help catch offenders. To encourage participation, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) provides compensation for claims that are successfully acted upon—up to 25% of the amount recovered from fines and penalties, with a maximum reward totaling $250,000 per case. Additionally, Congress has passed laws to protect tipsters from retaliation and reward them for taking action.
What’s a Priority Trade Issue (PTI)?
PTIs represent high-risk areas that can cause significant revenue loss, harm the U.S. economy, or threaten the health and safety of the American people. CBP focuses its actions and resources around PTIs to better direct an effective trade facilitation and enforcement approach
Many individuals file reports anonymously, forgoing any financial reward. Those who report IP crimes do so for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by a sense of civic responsibility and integrity—wanting to end a culture of corruption and bring about change. Some desire justice—to right former wrongs. Others are concerned about being implicated in criminal activity.
The protections and incentives provided to the public have allowed CBP to target shipments based on intelligence, prevent entry to illegal goods, and take action against criminal enterprises.
Thanks to improved reporting processes, intellectual property seizures more than doubled from 2007 to 2016, from less than 14,000 seizures to more than 31,000.
Those participating in intellectual property crime should take note.
Anyone aware of IP crime can file a report. Tipsters may be current or former employees, suppliers, customers, or even competitors. Claimants do not have to witness misconduct firsthand, but should supply concrete and specific evidence of the fraud.
Anyone with suspicion of, or information about, intellectual property crime should contact the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agency.