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Intellectual Property Rights
06/09/2010

Local sportswear vendors lose their shirts in illegal sales

ICE agents and NHL investigators seize hundreds of articles of counterfeit merchandise in the city

PHILADELPHIA - Since the start of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs ®, officials in Philadelphia have been enforcing counterfeiting laws and have seized fake sports merchandise from city vendors. Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), working with an investigator for the NHL and other professional sports leagues, have investigated 14 vendors and seized over 900 counterfeit hats, t-shirts and jerseys worth approximately $58,450. Although most of the seized items were purporting to be NHL merchandise, ICE also seized counterfeit items bearing the trademarks of Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association.

"Vendors who sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting sports fans will be held accountable. These vendors sell inferior items tarnishing the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "Not only do these items hurt the trademark holder, counterfeit goods cost U.S. industries billions of dollars in losses each year. ICE will continue to investigate and prosecute crimes that impact the US economy."

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 Flyers Team Store and NHL.com rather than buy items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
  • Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.

ICE and the NHL are using their resources to target criminal organizations, vendors and individuals using local and online business establishments to smuggle, distribute and sell counterfeit Stanley Cup merchandise. They will continue their efforts to crack down on counterfeit goods through the conclusion of the series.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (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 and also directs anti-counterfeiting investigations.

To learn more about the IPR Center go to www.ice.gov. Report information on counterfeiting and trademark violations at (866) IPR-2060.