Customs: Many counterfeit purchases made through online stores

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Counterfeit items confiscated by Guam Customs. (PNC photo)

The Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency held a news conference Wednesday to talk about their efforts to stop the flood of counterfeit products into the island.

The Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency (GCQA) held the event today to showcase and talk about the significance of seizing products that violate Intellectual Property Rights, or IPR.

At the moment, the agency has 19 pending IPR cases awaiting the Office of the Attorney General of Guam’s disposition. According to both PIO Jessi Santos Torres and CQA Director Ike Peredo, since the start of the fiscal year, there have been around 52 plus IPR cases.

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CQA states that they have seized a total of 23,600 counterfeit articles, including items such as purses, pouches, wallets, and face masks which took up a majority of the seized items.

Peredo states that the customs staffers are trained to spot counterfeit luxury items and should they need further assistance, the customs staff would also ask for help from the brand’s representatives.

In an earlier interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo, Peredo stated that people are obtaining these items through online stores and social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.

“The reason for that is that many of these counterfeit purchases were made online and Facebook, buyers should be aware that not all these items posted online are legitimate. And that’s what we’re seeing right now,” he said.

Peredo also said: “The Customs and Quarantine Agency will continue to seize items that infringe upon registered intellectual property rights to protect residents from counterfeit or dangerous products and safeguard our tourism industry and market.”

In an interview with PNC, Peredo stated that the counterfeit items are sent to the AG’s Office who then sends a report to Customs for final disposition after which the items are usually destroyed.

Peredo says that there is no timeline as to when the items will be destroyed because it is ultimately up to the AG’s Office but it is typically done by the end of each fiscal year.

When asked why they confiscate such items, Peredo stated that it is for the protection of the intellectual property owner

“Actually, this is part of our mandate, the intellectual property rights law, is not only local law, it’s a federal law. And we enforce both local and federal law, with respect to the trademark counterfeit that is coming in. Because the rightful owner, who registers for this product, requires that they be protected and that’s our job,” he said.

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Born and raised on the island of Saipan, Don moved to Guam in the Spring of 2016 to pursue higher education at the University of Guam. It was at UOG that Don discovered his passion for keeping his peers politically informed. Prior to joining PNC Don gained professional and life experience through a variety of odd jobs ranging from an administrative assistant to a bouncer to a luxury retail salesman. In his free time, you can find him flying his drone or doing landscape and portrait photography. Don joined the PNC News Team not only to broaden his writing skill but also to challenge himself to get in front of the camera, ultimately furthering his passion to promote an informed and politically engaged Mariånas. Don's beat is Court, Crime, and Regional and is also PNC's Lead Reporter.