EL PASO, Texas (KRQE) - It wasn't the real Barbie, just some dolls designed to look a lot like her who attempted to sneak into the United States from Mexico.
On Tuesday U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported agents working the Ysleta, Texas, international crossing seized two shipments of dolls and related toys intended to fool consumers into buying what they thought was the real deal.
"The items in questions did not bear the Barbie name or trademark, but their overall appearance and packaging was confusingly similar to the genuine item and therefore constituted trademark infringement," Ana Hinojosa, Customs and Border Protection director of field operations in El Paso, Texas, said in a statement released by the agency.
One shipment of 377 cartons had been held since Nov. 1 over concerns the regular and large dolls, Barbie family play sets and Barbie mermaids were not authentic. Agents seized a second shipment of 80 cartons on Saturday.
Investigators contacted Mattel Inc. and confirmed the dolls and toys were unauthorized copies of genuine Barbie goods.
Hinojosa said the importers had paid $30,000 for the items and could sell them for eight to 10 times than amount on the U.S. market. The importers were not identified.
Part of the CBP mission is to enforce trade laws with importers forfeiting items found to be in violation. Nearly 15,000 seizures of pirated and counterfeit goods valued at $260 million were logged as U.S. ports of entry during the 2009 fiscal year with pharmaceuticals listed as the top product presenting safety or security threats, according to the agency.
The source of the goods seized at Ysleta was no identified although CBP said manufacturers in China accounted for nearly 80 percent of the bogus goods confiscated during the last fiscal year.
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