‘Operation Strike Out’ Results in Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia Seizures

November 1, 2011

With the conclusion of Major League Baseball’s 2011 World Series, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced the results of “Operation Strike Out.”

The one-month operation, which commenced at the beginning of the American League and National League Championship Series, resulted in the seizure of 58 commercial websites that sold and distributed counterfeit sports paraphernalia. Special agents have also seized 5,347 items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $134,862.

Website seizures

The seizure of the 58 domain names is the seventh phase of “Operation In Our Sites,” a sustained law enforcement initiative to protect consumers by targeting counterfeiting and piracy over the Internet. In June 2010, the IPR Center began “Operation In Our Sites.” Since the launch of this operation in June 2010, the IPR Center has seized a total of 200 domain names and redirected those domain names to a seizure banner.

The 58 domain names seized were all commercial websites engaged in illegally selling and distributing counterfeit sports paraphernalia. During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases of sport jerseys from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods.

In most instances, the counterfeit goods were shipped directly into the United States from suppliers in other countries using international express mail.

The seized counterfeit items infringed on the copyrights or trademarks owned by: Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League.

‘Hard goods’ seizures

Special agents operated in multiple teams to identify stores and vendors selling counterfeit trademarked items. These teams – operating in Dallas; Detroit; Milwaukee, Wis.; and St. Louis -seized 5,347 items of phony World Series-related memorabilia along with other counterfeit Major League Baseball and sports related items to date totaling $134,862.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

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