Saturday, July 4, 2015

US busts Philly vendors for fake NHL, NBA, NFL gear: Update

Immigration and Customs Enforcement joins Philly cops to protect "the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL" from the threat of cheaper knockoff team jerseys by Chinese makers.

US busts Philly vendors for fake NHL, NBA, NFL gear: Update

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Updated: Federal immigration agents were busy in Philly over the weekend, seizing mail-order pro hockey team-themed gear to protect team owners and their lucrative franchising deals from cheap unlicensed knockoffs offered by vendors, merchants and unlicensed China-based manufacturers. 

In connection with the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic held here, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit says it grabbed "1,649 counterfeit items with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of nearly $350,000" from Philadelphia vendors since Dec. 28.

Says 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."

ICE special agent in charge John P. Kelleghan said the government was protecting "the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL" against cheaper counterfeits "in China." So far, "nobody has been charged. We are still getting additional seizures," he told me. His group expects to report to the US Attorney's Office and the Philadelphia Police Department for possible prosecution. "The money made from this is all dirty money." 

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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