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Intellectual Property Rights
04/16/2010

Counterfeiters put on ICE following a seizure of more than $1.4 million

MIAMI - More than $1.4 million in counterfeit goods being sold at W.K. International Corporation located at 4760 NW 165th Street in Miami was seized Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents.

Among the items seized were 14,750 counterfeit professional adidas soccer team jerseys with an estimated MSRP of more than $1 million. ICE agents also seized 8,250 counterfeit pieces of wearing apparel that included trademarks belonging to Ed Hardy, Dolce & Gabbana and others. The wearing apparel has an estimated MSRP of more than $400,000.

"The trafficking of counterfeit goods is a global enterprise that robs legitimate companies of billions of dollars in revenue every year," said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Miami. "What's more, these sales generate profits that often go to support other types of criminal activity. No one should ever consider this a victimless crime."

"At adidas we vigorously protect the rights of our intellectual property which includes monitoring the market place and enforcing the adidas marks with regards to infringing and counterfeit merchandise," said Jeni Zuercher, senior brand protection manager, adidas Group. "In a World Cup year in particular, we are working hard with law enforcement to rid the counterfeits of the market and prosecute offenders."

As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling, and distributing counterfeit products. ICE investigations focus not only on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity. ICE manages the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which plays a pivotal role in the U.S. government's domestic and international law enforcement attack on IPR violations. ICE agents and CBP personnel throughout the country rely upon the IPR Coordination Center for guidance in their inspections and investigations.

In addition to agents at the IPR Center and around the country, ICE uses its 61 Attaché Offices located in 44 countries to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR center partners include the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which bring resources to the fight as well.

The ICE-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. Government's key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting. The IPR Center offers one-stop shopping for both law enforcement and the private sector to address the growing transnational threat of counterfeit merchandise. The IPR Center coordinates outreach to U.S. rights holders and conducts domestic and international law enforcement training to stem the growing counterfeiting threat as well as coordinating and directing anti-counterfeiting investigations. DHS seizure statistics of counterfeit merchandise paint a grim picture of the growing threat: To learn more about the IPR Center, read tips for holiday buying and see the Intellectual Property Rights Seizure Statistics for FY 2009, go to www.ice.gov/iprcenter/.

No arrests have been made linked to this seizure; however, the criminal investigation into this case is ongoing.