31 January 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Massive spike in Super Bowl counterfeit seizures

US authorities have seized counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise worth an estimated $123 million, in a joint operation with the National Football League (NFL), a 400% increase on last year’s event.

With the biggest US sports event of the year fast approaching, customs and the NFL have been ramping up efforts on Operation Team Player, a collaboration with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other agencies.

The operation saw the seizure of fake jerseys, jewellery, hats, cell-phone accessories and “thousands of other bogus items”.

The goods have a manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP) value of $123 million, which estimates what the goods would be worth if sold on the legitimate market.

This year’s edition of Operation Team Player began immediately after last year’s Super Bowl 53, which saw associated seizures of counterfeit sports goods worth a total of $24.2 million.

The operation is led by Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center.

“Enforcement actions related to this year’s operation led to a 400% increase in the overall MSRP of seized goods from Super Bowl 53,” an IPR Center statement said.

“Operation Team Player remains one of the most important national initiatives for protecting sports fans from the sale of counterfeit products and counterfeit tickets,” said NFL vice president of legal affairs, Dolores DiBella.

“The NFL is committed to supporting these anti-counterfeiting and consumer protection measures, and extends its gratitude for the year-round support of law enforcement partners who drove the success of Operation Team Player,” DiBella added.

Super Bowl 54 will be held on Sunday, February 2 in Miami, Florida, featuring the San Francisco 49ers versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We have developed a multi-layered, strategic approach to IPR enforcement, that uses technology to increase interdiction of fake goods, facilitate partnerships with industry and enhance enforcement efforts through the sharing of information and intelligence,” said Christopher Maston, the CBP’s Miami International Airport port director.

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