U.S. Customs and Border Protection said front-line personnel seized $51 million worth of counterfeit perfume at ports of entry in fiscal year 2011, ended Sept. 30.
Fake perfumes labeled with brand names cost the legitimate manufacturer lost sales and possible reputation if customers associate the inferior product with the company. Counterfeit perfumes also pose a potential health hazard because they are often contaminated with unknown chemicals.
The border management agency said the perfume it most frequently intercepted was labeled "Sex in the City," named after the popular HBO movie and television series. CBP said it has been working with company that holds the intellectual rights to the perfume to crack down on illegal imports.
"Sex in the City" is distributed by Instyle Parfums.
CBP's Intellectual Property Rights National Targeting and Analysis Group in Los Angeles targeted 138 commercial shipments of perfumes for possible trademark violations, leading to the seizure of 52 shipments during the fiscal year. At suggested retail prices for the genuine article, the one million-plus perfume bottles would have been worth more than $45 million. CBP caught another $6 million in counterfeit perfume shipments through other enforcement means.
The NTAG has identified more than 30 entities involved in the importation of counterfeit perfume, CBP said.
The agency confiscated 24,792 shipments of counterfeit and pirated goods of all types with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1.1 billion (domestic actual value of $179 million) during the year.