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US, EU seize counterfeit computer goods

First joint operation for fake chips

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More than 360,000 fake computer chips and network components were seized by US and European custom officers in a joint operation late last year.

Officials from both sides of the pond seized counterfeit goods that carried more than 40 different trademarks in November and December last year under “Operation Infrastructure”.

It was the first Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement operation undertaken by US Customs and Border Protection and the European Union.

Assistant commissioner of the US Office of International Trade, Dan Baldwin, said in a joint statement: "The success of Operation Infrastructure clearly demonstrates our commitment to jointly working with our European counterparts to stop the international flow of illicit goods and protect our consumers and businesses from these harmful products."

The European Commission said that the two agencies had targeted counterfeit computer networking hardware because it provides “critical infrastructure” that brings with it potential “national security and health and safety implications”.

EC director general for taxation and customs R.Verrue said: “The EU and US are fully committed to combating counterfeiting and piracy at home and abroad. In addition, this also shows that Customs administrations are prepared to tackle difficult enforcement challenges and issues, especially when the health and safety of our citizens is at stake.”

The EU and US first agreed to buddy up on IPR enforcement at a summit in 2006. ®

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