Friday, January 31, 2014

MCC Guest Blogger: Football Fans are Getting Iced, but not how you think

By the Global Intellectual Property Center

West-coasters pilgrimaging to the Super Bowl this year may be left super cold. While acclimating to polar temperatures for hours in an outdoor stadium in New Jersey is bad enough, opportunistic counterfeiters are seeking to make it worse.

Knock-off memorabilia and apparel are destined to leave a chill on sports fans of all kinds. But you’re saying to yourself, what gives? A Bronco’s jersey is a jersey and a Seahawk’s sweatshirt is just a sweatshirt. That may be the case… unless it’s fake. Counterfeits, clothing included, are oftentimes made of inferior quality, making what appears to be a warm coat, mittens, etc to in fact be totally useless against the cold.

But 400,000 Super Bowl attendees and consumers aren’t the only ones getting iced. Businesses and local economies suffer from this growing epidemic, as evidenced by this week’s $20 million bust on game day fakes. In “Operation Team Player,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement teamed with the NFL to identify and prevent the profiteering from counterfeit merchandise and tickets from a variety of sources, like warehouses, flea markets, and online vendors.

David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center was cited as saying: "Counterfeit goods cost the global economy an estimated $250 billion each year. More than 1.2 million jobs in New Jersey, 900,000 jobs in Colorado and 1.2 million in the state of Washington depend on IP intensive industries meaning counterfeits have a direct impact on the economy in the home states of both teams and the host of the Super Bowl."

Come this Sunday, somebody must win, and somebody must lose. But when criminal counterfeiters are off the streets and e-streets, everybody wins.

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