Knock-off merchandise isn't an uncommon thing America. Still, those wares are actually a form intellectual property theft.
Customers and Border Protection (CBP) agents said that's exactly what they thwarted when they intercepted a recent shipment of 350 counterfeit "smart wristbands" used for fitness – in other words, fake Fitbits.
Agents explained that the shipment in question arrived in the Port of Philadelphia on Dec. 4. "Working with the trademark holder, CBP determined that the 350 smart wristbands were counterfeit and seized them on Jan. 4," they added. So much for New Year's resolutions.
If the goods were authentic, CBP estimated they would retail for a whopping total of $35,000 in retail stores.
Authorities "will continue to work closely with our trade partners and consume safety partners to identify and seize counterfeit and substandard merchandise," said CBP's Susan Stranieri. "Intellectual property rights enforcement is a CBP priority trade issue and a mission that we take very seriously."
In a statement, the federal agency insisted that knock-off merchandise isn't a victimless crime.
"The theft of intellectual property and trade in fake goods threaten America's economic vitality and national security – and the American people's health and safety," CBP said. "Trade in illicit goods funds criminal activities and organized crime."