ATLANTA – On June 16, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Atlanta seized 66 boxes of vape pens in a shipment that originated from China, destined for distribution in Georgia.
CBP officers examined the shipments to make a determination for entry of the merchandise into the U.S. Upon inspection, officers discovered the boxes contained ‘Rick and Morty’ branded vape pens and e-cigarettes.
The popular cartoon characters were printed on the vape pen packaging, which made the merchandise suspect of copyright and trademark law infringement.
“One of our primary missions is to intercept merchandise that could pose a serious health risk to the consumer, but this shipment of counterfeit vape pens violated Intellectual Property Rights,” said Paula Rivera, CBP Port Director-Atlanta. “CBP collaborates with many government agencies to enforce laws to protect the health and safety of the consumer and our communities.”
CBP contacted Warner Bros. Entertainment INC, and it was confirmed they had not licensed their “Rick and Morty” copyright for vape pens.
CBP Import Specialists determined the shipments of vape pens did indeed infringe upon the “Rick and Morty” copyright and the 19,800 flavored pens were seized by CBP officers. Similar pens properly licensed would have a manufactured suggested retail price of more than $590,000.00 dollars.
Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity.
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at Fake Good Real Dangers.
CBP’s border security mission is led at 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Atlanta Field Office on Twitter at @DFOAtlanta and on Instagram at @DFOAtlanta for breaking news, current events, human-interest stories and photos.