To coincide with the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, officials in Philadelphia enforced counterfeiting laws by seizing fake sports merchandise from international mail facilities and local street vendors.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the seizure of 1,649 counterfeit items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of nearly $350,000.
ICE HSI special agents — working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Philadelphia Police Department Major Crimes Unit, and the National Hockey League (NHL) and its private investigators — seized approximately 150 international mail parcels and investigated nine vendors since Dec. 28, 2011.
ICE HSI also seized counterfeit items bearing the trademarks of Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“Vendors who sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting sports fans will be held accountable,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. “These vendors sell inferior items, and tarnishing the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL. Counterfeit goods also cost U.S. industries billions of dollars in losses each year.”
Intellectual property (IP) crime refers to the violation of criminal laws that protect copyrights, patents, trademarks, other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets, both in the United States and abroad. IP crimes can destroy jobs, suppress innovation in the United States and jeopardize the health and safety of consumers. In some cases, these activities are used to fund dangerous or even violent criminal enterprises and organized crime networks.
When buying NHL goods, consumers should:
• Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce “genuine” or “official” merchandise.
• Shop at legitimate retailers, such as the official Philadelphia Flyers team store and website rather than buy items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
• Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
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