The Toy Association Raises Issue of Counterfeit Toys During Congressional Briefing

December 19, 2017 | The Toy Association participated in a congressional briefing last week on counterfeits and consumer safety during the holiday season.

Hosted by the Congressional Trademark Caucus, the briefing covered challenges related to e-commerce and IP infringing goods, and included panelist speakers from The Toy Association, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the National IPR Center, and the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Speaking on the panel, Rebecca Mond, The Toy Association’s senior director of federal government affairs, said the growing issue of counterfeit toys has become a significant safety concern for the nation’s most vulnerable population – children.

“All toys sold in the U.S. must comply with very strict product safety requirements and must be tested by an accredited, independent testing lab to demonstrate compliance,” said Mond.  “Suffice it to say, it is highly unlikely that an infringing seller has undertaken the same efforts to ensure the safety of their knock-off toy.” Mond added that counterfeits seized at the ports damage the reputation of legitimate manufacturers.

The other panelists also addressed various challenges in addressing counterfeit concerns on e-commerce platforms. CBP noted that they are looking into making IP seizures of small volume parcels more expeditious and spoke about current initiatives with USPS and China Mail to get more advanced data to improve targeting.

Advocating for systematic solutions to ensure that U.S. consumers only have access to legitimate and safe toys, The Toy Association supports: 1) initiatives to improve enforcement and targeting of IP infringing goods, especially for low-value shipments; 2) CBP’s work with global customs authorities to share and exchange best practices and improve enforcement; 3) educating consumers and small businesses; and 4) the incorporation of strong IP protections and strong enforcement provisions into NAFTA and other trade agreements.

“Our participation in the briefing, as well as our involvement in the International Trademark Association and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, underscores The Toy Association’s commitment to raising awareness about the issue of IP-infringing toys sold online,” says Mond. “We appreciate the work of government agencies, Congress, and interested stakeholders to address this problem, and look forward to continuing our work with key partners to combat this issue in the New Year.”

Members are invited to participate in The Toy Association’s IP Advisory Council. Contact Rebecca Mond to join – or for additional information on this topic.