Smuggling Auto Parts? Better Think Again

For those hoping to make easy money fast, manufacturing counterfeiting products, such as auto parts and attempting to import them in the United States is familiar scenario to U.S. Customs. The idea is simple: manufacturer counterfeit auto parts outside of the U.S., import them into the U.S. without detection and then sell at full value and authentic price. While smuggling auto parts (or other items) may be a tempting way to make a buck, doing so carries large federal penalties if caught. For more information about trademark infringement and legal counsel, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly.

Why is bringing in counterfeit auto parts illegal?

A wide variety of counterfeit auto parts are imported clandestinely into the U.S. In fact, Customs and Border Protection officials—often in conjunction with the FBI—have seized auto parts such as brakes, brake pads, brake shoes, wheel hubs, anti-lock braking sensors, transmission filters, suspension air springs, front ends, fuses, water pumps, ignition coils, and more. There’s a two- fold problem with importing counterfeit auto parts,  not only is doing so often an infringement of copyright or/and trademark laws, but counterfeit automotive parts also pose a large safety risk. If parts aren’t constructed to the correct safety standard, they can cause an accident and injury to consumers.

Penalties for Trafficking Auto Parts into the U.S.

Bringing in any illegal items into the U.S.—including counterfeit automotive parts—is risky business. Under 18 U.S. Code Section 2320- Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services, a person commits an illegal act, pertaining to auto parts, when he or she:

  • Knowingly uses a counterfeit mark in connection with goods or services; and/or
  • Brings in goods knowing that the counterfeit mark has been applied.

Under the same section of code, the penalty is a fine of not more than $2,000,000 and up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of $5,000,000 for a first time offense. For a second offense, the maximum fine amount is upped to $5,000,000 and up to 20 years in prison, or $15,000,000.

If the counterfeit auto parts cause serious bodily injury or death to a person—whether wantonly or recklessly—that penalty is increased.

When a Boston Customs and Import Attorney is a Necessity

If you or your business have imported goods that are seized by Customs and determined to be counterfeit, it is essential that you seek the counsel of an attorney immediately.  At The Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly, we have over 20 years of experience in customs and international trade law. To contact us to set up your first appointment or receive answers to your legal questions, call us today at 781-897-1771.


The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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