WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today introduced legislation to address the increase in counterfeit merchandise entering the United States. This legislation would modernize the Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act (TFTEA) of 2015 and expand U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) authority to share information with rights holders and other interested parties on suspected counterfeit merchandise. 
 
“Knockoffs not only violate intellectual property rights; they also threaten the economy and consumers. Unfortunately, as consumers rely more on online shopping, bad actors are finding new ways to exploit legitimate channels to box out businesses and dupe consumers with bogus products. This legislation promotes greater cooperation between government and the private sector so that we can crack down on these counterfeiters,” Grassley said.
 
Counterfeiters are increasingly exploiting the global marketplace. Knockoff products accounted for $509 billion – an estimated 3.3 percent of world trade in 2016. Some counterfeit products such as toys, batteries, pharmaceuticals and other health products may also pose health and safety risks to consumers when they are not manufactured according to established standards.
 
In 2019, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the findings of a bipartisan committee report studying counterfeit goods sold online and their effect on U.S. businesses and consumers. The report found that improved information sharing between CBP and its private sector partners would aid efforts to identify and curtail the sale of counterfeit imports.
 
The report also found that while e-commerce platforms provide some tools to combat counterfeits, the burden of policing the marketplace largely falls to the owner of the intellectual property being targeted. Small- and medium-sized businesses often don’t have the resources to effectively identify and address counterfeits listed on e-commerce platforms.
 
CBP is tasked with helping to identify counterfeit products entering the country. However, current laws and regulations limit its ability to share information with businesses, e-commerce platforms and the common carriers that ship the products to consumers. Information sharing between CBP and its private sector partners would better protect intellectual property rights and create a more secure supply chain.
 

Grassley recently spoke on the Senate floor about the increased risks and potential dangers that counterfeit merchandise pose to businesses and consumers.