Years ago, the phrase "counterfeit goods" probably brought to mind images of fake Gucci handbags and Rolex watches. These days, however, it reflects a more dangerous trend: bogus electrical products.

In an ongoing effort to underscore the hazards presented by counterfeit electrical merchandise, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), headquartered in Rosslyn, Va., applauds the efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as indicated in CBP’s annual intellectual property rights (IPR) seizure statistics report for the fiscal year 2008.

According to the CBP report, the value of all seized counterfeit and pirated products totaled almost $273 million, an increase of 38% over 2007. This figure includes a 43% increase in seizures of counterfeit electrical products during 2008 over 2007, with a total value of roughly $23 million in 2008.

The category for electrical products accounted for 8% of all seizures and ranked 5th among all product categories of counterfeit goods seized. In 2007, the category for electrical products placed third in the rankings of seizures, but also represented 8% of all seizures. Seizures of counterfeit batteries alone totaled $1.8 million. Power adapters, extension cords, circuit breakers, and lighting products were among the other electrical articles seized. According to customs data, the counterfeit electrical items originated in China and Hong Kong. View the CPB report in its entirety