NBA Issues Warning to Pistons Fans: Beware of Counterfeit Merchandise; Team's Success and Popularity Surrounding NBA Conference Finals has League and Law Enforcement Officials on the Lookout For Counterfeiters
The counterfeiters' victims include legitimate retailers in the Detroit area, as well as Pistons fans who believe they are purchasing authentic merchandise, only to learn later that they have obtained counterfeit products of inferior quality.
“But if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is”
The illegal sale of counterfeit sports merchandise is a widespread and ongoing problem. In 2005, the NBA and its fellow members of the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) recovered nearly 300,000 pieces of counterfeit merchandise featuring the logos of various professional sports leagues and teams, colleges and universities - valued at more than $60 million. Such counterfeiting becomes more prevalent during a post-season series like the NBA Playoffs, as the demand for team gear rises among fans.
During the NBA Playoffs and through The Finals, the NBA will be working closely with local law enforcement authorities, responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit league, team, and event merchandise.
"As the Pistons continue to win and advance through the Playoffs, their merchandise becomes more popular among basketball fans and counterfeiters alike," said Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president & chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA.
"The 2006 NBA Playoffs is an event that Pistons fans will want to remember for many years to come, but a counterfeit T-shirt is not really a keepsake if it contains a typo or shrinks three sizes when you put it in the laundry," said Deutsch.
To avoid falling into the trap of purchasing counterfeit items, Deutsch urges basketball fans to:
-- Look for the hologram sticker or hangtag and a sewn-in label identifying the merchandise as "genuine" or "official," as authorized by the NBA.
-- Shop at the Pistons' official team stores and other NBA-authorized retail locations, rather than buying items from street vendors and flea markets.
-- Beware of ripped tags, typographical errors, poor quality screen-printing, or irregular markings on apparel.
"But if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is," added Deutsch.
In addition to misleading consumers who believe they are buying legitimate memorabilia, the sale of counterfeit merchandise causes significant harm to lawful vendors in the area through lost business.
"The NBA insists upon the highest quality products, to protect both our authorized vendors and our fans," said Deutsch. "Counterfeiting is a lose-lose situation, harming those retailers who play by the rules and cheating fans out of the lasting NBA mementos they deserve."
The Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) is an alliance formed by The Collegiate Licensing Company, Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., NBA Properties, Inc., NFL Properties LLC, and NHL Enterprises, L.P. in 1992 to address common trademark protection and enforcement matters of its members. For more information, call 1-800-TEL-CAPS (835-2277) or visit www.capsinfo.com.
To Interview Ayala Deutsch or another NBA representative:
Please call Jennifer Peters, 314/982-9167 (office) or 314/422-9305 (cell).