International IP

Jim Chester Speaks at State Bar of Texas Annual “Advanced IP” CLE

By Blog, Customs IP Enforcement, Import, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP, News, Technology Transactions

Dallas, Texas, 14 April 2014 – J. F. (Jim) Chester, founding partner in the Dallas-based business & innovation law firm of Chester & Jeter LLP recently presented a speech on the U.S. regulation of international technology transfers to a statewide audience of intellectual property attorneys at an event sponsored by the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of Texas (SBOT).

Chester’s presentation was part of the SBOT’s annual 2-day “Advanced IP” CLE program, which features many of the stats most notable IP attorneys.  This year’s event was held in Dallas, Texas.

The title of Chester’s presentation was: “International Technology Transfers”, and focused on the regulatory issues associated with the import and export of technology and IP-oriented goods and information.

Chester reports, “I was honored to be asked to participate in this program, which is one of the top IP law-oriented events in the State of Texas.  IP is an increasingly global asset, and although increased international trade creates opportunities for IP owners, there are also increased risks. I applaud the SBOT, and the IP Section in particular, for ensuring that emerging important subject like these are addressed in its programs. ”




About Chester & Jeter LLP

Chester & Jeter LLP is a Dallas, Texas law firm providing comprehensive legal services to innovation-based companies doing business in the US, around the world, and on the web.  Its mission (and passion) is helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies solve problems and protect their interests. Chester & Jeter LLP delivers value by providing business-savvy, cost-effective solutions to legal challenges.  The firm offers a wide array of business legal solutions, such as business entity formation (LLCs, corporations, etc.), trademarks and other intellectual property, technology transactions, contracts, ecommerce, employment law and dispute resolution.  Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at


Annual Report of Customs Seizures for IP Violations

By Customs IP Enforcement, Import, Intellectual Property, International IP

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced the comprehensive results of counterfeit and pirated goods seized during fiscal year (FY) 2013. Under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), HSI and CBP are the agencies charged with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) for goods entering the United States.

The number of IPR seizures increased nearly 7 percent from 22,848 in FY 2012 to 24,361 in FY 2013. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods also increased from $1.26 billion in FY 2012 to $1.74 billion in FY 2013. DHS averaged slightly over 66 seizures per day, with an average MSRP of each seizure being slightly more than $71,500.

“These numbers are the result of the hard work of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security and the increased collaboration of our agencies through the IPR Center,” said ICE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas S. Winkowski. “But a great deal more has to be done to protect the public from the health and safety threat that counterfeits pose to our society. We will continue to pursue these criminals and educate the public about the real threats that intellectual property crimes pose.”

“Together with our IPR partners, CBP continues to guard the nation’s borders against counterfeit products,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “These products are not only unsafe and dangerous to consumers, but they also pose a threat to the economic security of our country.”

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) continued Operation In Our Sites (IOS), a long-term law enforcement initiative which targets counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet. In FY 2013, the IPR Center seized 1,413 domain names, and since the launch of IOS in June 2010, the center has seized more than 2,700 domain names. Collaboration through the IPR Center led to 692 arrests, 401 criminal indictments, and 451 criminal convictions for criminal IPR infringement activities in FY 2013.

The People’s Republic of China remained the primary source for counterfeit and pirated goods seized in FY 2013 with a total value of $1.1 billion. This represented 68 percent of all IPR seizures by MSRP. DHS also made seizures from 73 additional economies during FY 2013 including Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.

The HSI-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety and the U.S. economy.


EU Proposes New Law on Protection of Trade Secrets

By Innovation, Intellectual Property, International IP

On November 28, 2013, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use, and disclosure. Trade secrets, otherwise known as “confidential business information” or “undisclosed information,” are used by a large number of companies to safeguard a wide range of different information, including, for example, such things as the manufacturing process of Michelin tires, the technology and know-how used in Airbus aircraft, and Google’s search algorithm. (Press Release, European Commission, Commission Proposes Rules to Help Protect Against the Theft of Confidential Business Information (Nov. 28, 2013).)

According to a survey, one in five companies in the European Union has been beset by at least one attempt of trade secret theft during the last ten years. In general, trade secrets do not enjoy the same legal protection as inventions, because no exclusive right applies to the confidential information. At present, some EU members have no specific law on the protection of trade secrets while others have differing rules in place.

The proposed directive is designed to harmonize common rules on trade secrets across the EU by establishing a common definition of trade secrets and to facilitate access to national courts for victims of abuse of trade secrets, in order to allow them to seek redress. Among the remedial measures available, in addition to monetary compensation, will be the removal of trade secret infringing products from the market.

The proposal will be submitted to the Council of the EU and the Parliament for review and adoption.

SOURCE:  US Library of Congress, Global Legal Monitor

Black-Out Monday: 706 Web Sites Selling Counterfeit Merchandise Seized

By copyright, Customs IP Enforcement, Export, Import, Intellectual Property, International IP, Internet / eCommerce, News, Technology Transactions

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) teamed with 10 foreign law enforcement agencies to seize hundreds of domain names that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise online to unsuspecting consumers. Seizures come as US consumers flock to the Web for Cyber Monday shopping deals.

The 706 domain names seized were set up to dupe consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods as part of the holiday shopping season. The operations were coordinated by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington, D.C.

An iteration of “Operation In Our Sites,” Project Cyber Monday IV resulted in the seizure of 297 domain names from undercover operations conducted by HSI offices around the country. This is the fourth year that the IPR Center has targeted websites selling counterfeit products online in conjunction with Cyber Monday. Due to the global nature of Internet crime, the IPR Center partnered with Europol who, through its member countries, seized 393 foreign-based top-level domains as part of Project Transatlantic III. Additionally, Hong Kong Customs coordinated the seizure of 16 foreign-based top-level domains hosted in Hong Kong, enlisting the assistance of the web-hosting companies to suspend the service of related websites.

“Working with our international partners on operations like this shows the true global impact of IP crime,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg. “Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday season and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere. Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites.”

During the weeks leading up to the end of the year, the market is flooded with counterfeit products being sold at stores, on street corners, and online, according to law enforcement officials, not only ripping off the consumer with shoddy products, but also putting their personal financial information at risk. The most popular counterfeit products seized each year include headphones, sports jerseys, personal care products, shoes, toys, luxury goods, cell phones and electronic accessories, according to the IPR Center.

“This operation is another good example of how transatlantic law enforcement cooperation works. It sends a signal to criminals that they should not feel safe anywhere,” said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol. “Unfortunately the economic downturn has meant that disposable income has gone down, which may tempt more people to buy products for prices that are too good to be true. Consumers should realize that, by buying these products, they risk supporting organized crime.”

During the last few weeks, the IPR Center and its international partners received leads from trademark holders regarding the infringing websites. Those leads were disseminated to HSI offices in Denver, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and Salt Lake City as well as the Belgium Economic Inspection, Belgium Customs, Denmark Police, Hungarian Customs, French Gendarmerie, French Customs, Romanian Police, Spanish Guardia Civil, City of London Police, and Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

The domain names seized are now in the custody of the governments involved in these operations. Visitors typing those domain names into their Web browsers will now find a banner that notifies them of the seizure and educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright infringement.

During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products including professional sports jerseys and equipment, DVD sets and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. Upon confirmation by the trademark or copyright holders that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, law enforcement officers obtained seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold these goods.

Operation In Our Sites is a sustained law enforcement initiative that began more than three years ago to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. The 297 domain names seized under Project Cyber Monday IV bring the total number of In Our Sites domain names seized to 2,550 since the operation began in June 2010. In that time, the seizure banner has received more than 122 million individual views.

U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Utah, Western District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado issued the warrants for U.S. seizures. Significant assistance was provided by the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

The HSI-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety and the U.S. economy.



India’s Supreme Court Decides to Provide Generic Drugs to the Poor Instead of Enforcing Patent

By Intellectual Property, International IP

Earlier last month, the Supreme Court in India ruled on whether or not Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, should be given a patent for Glivec, a cancer drug. The Court decided a patent should not be given because the formula in question was too similar to Novartis’ earlier version of the drug.

The India Patents Act prevents pharmaceutical companies from gaining a monopoly on patent protection on updated drugs that are not demonstrably more effective than previous versions.  India’s laws prevent patent holders from extending the duration of a patent by making small changes to existing patented formulas, a concept known as “evergreening.”

Chapter II of The Patents Act states: “3. What are not inventions? The following are not inventions within the meaning of this Act” and lists several items.

Section 3(d) states: “the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant.”

Novartis argued that the new drug is more effective than its predecessor because it is 30% easier for the body to absorb the drug. However, the Supreme Court of India decided that Novartis did not prove that the new drug provided the “enhanced efficacy” required.

As a result of the Court ruling, India’s generic drug manufacturers can continue to make generic version of Glivec. The impact for the sick in India is huge: a year’s supply of Novartis’ Glivec can cost about $70,000 while a year’s supply of a generic version costs around $2,500 a year. This ruling has no impact on the price of Glivec in the United States.

Chinese Man Sentenced for Exporting Sensitive US Military Technology to China

By Customs IP Enforcement, Export, Intellectual Property, International IP

A former employee of a New Jersey-based defense contractor was sentenced Monday for exporting sensitive military technology to China, stealing trade secrets and lying to federal agents. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Sixing Liu, aka Steve Liu, 49, a Chinese national, who had recently lived in Flanders, N.J., and Deerfield, Ill., was sentenced to 70 months in prison. Liu was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $15,000 fine. Restitution is to be determined at a later date.

Liu was convicted by a federal grand jury in September 2012 and has remained in federal custody.

The jury convicted Liu of nine of the 11 counts in the second superseding indictment with which he was charged, including: six counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; one count of possessing stolen trade secrets in violation of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996; one count of transporting stolen property in interstate commerce; and one count of lying to federal agents.

“Today’s sentencing underscores the potential global consequences when sensitive military weapons and technical data come into the wrong hands,” said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “HSI is determined to bring these criminals to justice and prevent criminal organizations from threatening our safety and security.”

According to court documents, in 2010, Liu stole thousands of electronic files from his employer, L-3 Communications, Space and Navigation Division, located in Budd Lake, N.J. The stolen files detailed the performance and design of guidance systems for missiles, rockets, target locators and unmanned aerial vehicles. Liu stole the files to position and prepare himself for future employment in China. As part of that plan, Liu delivered presentations about the technology at several Chinese universities, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and conferences organized by Chinese government entities. However, Liu was not charged with any crimes related to those presentations.

Liu boarded a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to China Nov. 12, 2010. Upon his return to the United States Nov. 29, 2010, HSI special agents found Liu in possession of a non-work-issued computer found to contain the stolen material. The following day, Liu lied to HSI special agents about the extent of his work on U.S. defense technology, which the jury found to be a criminal false statement.

The U.S. Department of State later verified that several of the stolen files on Liu’s computer contained export-controlled technical data that relates to defense items listed on the United States Munitions List.

Under federal regulations, items and data covered by the USML may not be exported without a license, which Liu did not obtain. The regulations also provide that it is the policy of the United States to deny licenses to export items and data covered by the USML to countries with which the United States maintains an arms embargo, which includes China.


Mexico Joins the International Trademark System

By Intellectual Property, International IP

Mexico's Secretary of Economy Bruno Ferrari and Director General Francis Gurry (Photo: WIPO/Berrod)

On November 19, 2012, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Bruno Ferrari, deposited Mexico’s instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol). The treaty entered into force with respect to Mexico on February 19, 2013. This brings the total number of members in the Madrid Protocol to 89.

The Madrid Protocol offers trademark owners a cost effective, user friendly, and streamlined way to protect their trademarks internationally. In 2012, the Philippines, Colombia, New Zealand and Mexico acceded to the Madrid system, which results in geographical expansion of the system.

The Madrid Protocol is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It allows a trademark owner to protect a mark in up to 88 countries in addition to the European Union with its Community Trade Mark (CTM) by filing one application in one language (English, Spanish, or French), with one set of fees, in one currency (Swiss Francs), which significantly simplifies the process of protecting a trademark internationally. Applicants that want to utilize the Madrid Protocol  must apply for trademark protection in a relevant national or regional trademark office before seeking international protection. An international registration under the Madrid Protocol has the same effect as an application for registration of the mark in each of the contracting parties designated by the applicant.

If the protection is not refused by the trademark office of a designated contracting party, the status of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that office. Later, the international registration can be maintained and renewed through a single procedure.


US and Mexico Gear Up for Christmas with Operation Holiday Hoax

By Customs IP Enforcement, Export, Import, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced the kickoff of Operation Holiday Hoax, an effort to track down those who are selling counterfeit and pirated products this holiday season.


The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)–led IPR Center is working with partners U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the government of Mexico to target stores, flea markets and swap meets involved in the importation, distribution and selling of counterfeit and pirated products in cities across the United States and in Mexico. Additionally, CBP officers will be conducting inspections and seize counterfeit merchandise at various U.S. ports of entry.

“The counterfeiting and piracy epidemic continues to spread around the world,” said IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak. “Our partnership with the government of Mexico and the rest of our partners at the IPR Center show that this is a problem that affects everyone in the world, not just the United States. Together, we will continue to deliver blow after blow to criminals worldwide making a positive impact on American jobs here at home.”

This is the third year that the IPR Center has conducted Operation Holiday Hoax. Last year’s operation led to the seizure of more than 327,000 counterfeit and pirated items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price worth an estimated $76.8 million. In 2009 the operation netted more than $26 million worth seized goods.

“The protection of intellectual property rights is one of CBP’s top priority trade issues,” said Assistant Commissioner for International Trade Al Gina. “Operations like this protect American businesses and consumers. CBP works daily to keep counterfeit goods out of the U.S. and to bring producers and distributors of these goods to justice.”

Last year, Mexico’s Tax Administration Service conducted 845 inspections in the main ports of entry, executed 160 search warrants nationwide and seized 23.8 million counterfeit and pirated items including 10 tons of used clothing, cigarettes, electronics, tools and DVD’s. The estimated value of the seized goods was 96.7 million pesos, or $7.1 million.

Holiday Hoax began Nov. 26 and is scheduled to run until Dec. 26. During that time federal and local law enforcement officers will seize products such as perfume, holiday lights, electronics, clothing and DVD’s. As in years past, most of these items are ordered online as part of the holiday shopping season.

Source: ICE


Paraguayan Authorities and Homeland Security Seize More Than $34 Million in Counterfeit Goods

By Blog, Customs IP Enforcement, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP

Over the past 15 months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has provided extensive training and capacity building to Paraguay’s customs office and other Paraguayan law enforcement partners. This training has been very successful, as Paraguayan authorities, working closely with the HSI Buenos Aires attaché, are making extensive seizures of counterfeit goods.

“Partnerships with international customs agencies and border security agents are essential to combating intellectual property theft,” said Raul O. Aguilar, HSI Buenos Aires attaché. Aguilar oversees HSI throughout the southern cone of South America. “HSI is proud to support our Paraguayan colleagues with our expertise in disrupting criminal organizations that import counterfeit products and goods. Fighting these organizations demands a response that is transnational and well-coordinated. I am truly proud of the collaboration we have built with our counterparts.”

Two major recent seizures include:

On Oct. 16, Paraguayan authorities, working collaboratively with HSI, seized counterfeit merchandise with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $34 million. On Oct. 11, Paraguayan authorities received information about counterfeit products being smuggled out of Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asunción. A criminal organization was attempting to smuggle these goods out of the country — possibly destined for the United States. Law enforcement discovered multiple high-quality counterfeit brand name watches of Swiss origin. Among the various brands were watches from Patek Philippe, Tissot, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Hublot. In addition, approximately 12,500 counterfeit Samsung cellular phones were discovered. The products were ultimately seized by law enforcement.

On Sept. 26, Paraguayan Customs, working with HSI, identified and searched a shipment of containers sent to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, from Uruguay. The three containers and their contents included counterfeit Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo gaming systems. The shipment, with an MSRP of $741,041, was subsequently seized by Paraguayan authorities. This specific case has been presented to the Paraguayan Public Ministry for prosecution.

“HSI will continue to provide training exercises and build strong partnerships with our Paraguayan counterparts in order to assist in the targeting and interception of shipments containing smuggled and illicit cargo,” added Aguilar. “Such training has been instrumental in increasing the abilities of the various agencies within the Republic of Paraguay, and has contributed to an increase in seizures.”

These seizures are the result of HSI’s Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy (IPAS). Over the last two decades, transnational organized crime (TOC) has transformed in size, scope and impact — posing a significant threat to national and international security. TOC networks are proliferating, striking new and powerful alliances, and engaging in a range of illicit activities as never before. The result is a convergence of threats that have evolved to become more complex, volatile and destabilizing. HSI’s response was the creation of the IPAS to break TOC strongholds.

HSI takes very seriously the threat to national security that TOC represents. HSI designed IPAS to focus its resources in a manner that best targets, disrupts and dismantles TOC while maximizing efficiency. IPAS provides a methodology and mechanism for HSI to prioritize threats and vulnerabilities within its mission and to coordinate its own efforts internally and among federal partners. IPAS enhances HSI’s and host country partners’ abilities to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in TOC organizations that threaten the stability and national security of the host countries and pose continuing threats to the homeland security of the United States. Prioritization allows HSI to strategically focus enforcement and capacity building efforts along the continuum of crime within and beyond U.S. borders. IPAS provides a structure for engagement with host country partners — including Paraguay — to increase joint investigations, enhance exchange of information, and support foreign and domestic prosecutions. The IPAS strategy is extremely important in the tri-border area of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, where the propensity for TOC organizations is immense.

Source: ICE

Homeland Security Seizes 686 Websites Selling Counterfeit Medicine

By Customs IP Enforcement, Intellectual Property, International IP, Internet / eCommerce

In the largest operation of its kind, 100 countries took part in an international week of action targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in coordination with the Department of Justice, seized 686 websites this week that were illegally selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The seizures were part of Project Bitter Pill, the current effort under of Operation In Our Sites (IOS). Bitter Pill was part of the INTERPOL-led Operation Pangea V.

A global enforcement effort, Pangea is an annual operation aimed at disrupting the organized crime networks behind the illicit online sale of fake drugs. Worldwide, preliminary results show Pangea has accounted for 79 arrests and the seizure of 3.7 million doses of potentially life-threatening counterfeit medicines worth an estimated value of $10.5 million. Additionally, approximately 18,000 websites engaged in illegal sale of counterfeit drugs were taken down.

During Pangea V, which ran from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, operations were conducted in Europe and throughout the United States at websites linked to the illegal Internet supply of medicines. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted packages that were believed to contain fake or illicit drugs. Various payment processing companies supported the operation by identifying and blocking payments connected to illicit online pharmacies, identifying individuals responsible for sending spam emails and identifying abuse of electronic payment systems.

“These international partnerships are essential in the global fight against the trafficking of counterfeit drugs,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Instead of taking potentially life-saving medicines, customers are duped into purchasing drugs that are fake or untested and could ultimately do them more harm than good.”

Pangea is coordinated by INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime, the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers, Pharmaceutical Security Institute, and Europol. For the first time, Pangea was also supported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies which brings together 12 of the world’s leading Internet and e-commerce companies.

“When someone is sick, can’t afford to purchase expensive medicine or is just trying to save money, they are more likely to take a chance and buy medicines online, making themselves vulnerable to purchasing fake, illicit or spurious medical products and thus harming themselves,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. “Organized, sophisticated criminals and rogue pharmacies are unfortunately using the Internet to defraud innocent consumers, to place them in harm’s way, to steal their identities and to engage in credit card fraud.”

The goals of this operation were to disrupt the illegal distribution of medicines and to raise public awareness about the significant health risks associated with buying medicines online and the increased risk of becoming a victim of identity and credit card fraud.

Bitter Pill, the U.S. operation, was managed by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), including HSI Baltimore, CBP, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, and the Computer Crime Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice Criminal Division. The Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also participated in Pangea and supported Bitter Pill.

“Interdiction of illegal pharmaceuticals is one of CBP’s top priorities,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “The rise of Internet pharmaceutical sale sites has resulted in increases of imported packages containing illegal medications, which is a risk to U.S. consumers. CBP is proud to be a part of this effort.”

IOS is a sustained law enforcement initiative that began two years ago to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. Those websites are now shut down and their domain names are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the websites will find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them about the federal crime of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The 686 domain names seized during Bitter Pill bring the total number of IOS domain names seized in the last two years to 1,525. The domain names are subject to forfeiture under federal laws that afford individuals who have an interest in the seized domain names a period of time after the “Notice of Seizure” to file a petition with a federal court and additional time after the “Notice of Forfeiture” to contest the forfeiture. If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become property of the U.S. government.

During this project, HSI special agents made undercover purchases of counterfeit drugs from multiple websites. The counterfeit drugs seized during Bitter Pill included anti-cancer medication, antibiotics and erectile dysfunction pills as well as weight loss and food supplements. Investigations are ongoing as special agents continue to connect shipments and websites with organized criminal networks.

The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting, piracy and commercial fraud. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft and commercial fraud. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and our war fighters. For more information on the IPR Center please visit