28 Counterfeit Rings Seized for Infringement of the Protected Trademarks and Designs of 11 NBA Teams
LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to Cargo Operations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), in coordination with import specialists assigned to the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence (CPMM Center), recently seized 28 counterfeit National Basketball Association (NBA) championship rings. If genuine, the seized rings would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $560,000.
CBP Officers discovered the 28 rings while conducting an enforcement exam on a shipment arriving from China with a final destination in Arizona. The rings were found inside of a wooden box, with the apparent intent to be sold as a collection.
CPMM Center import specialists confirmed that the designs and word marks were in violation of the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Air Jordan and NBA trophy design protected trademarks.
“Scammers take advantage of collectors and pro-basketball fans desiring to obtain a piece of sports history”, said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “This seizure illustrates how CBP officers and import specialists protect not only trademarks, but most importantly, the American consumer.”
Legitimate NBA championship ring prices range between $10,000 and $40,000 and in some cases over $200,000. The quantity and estimated MSRP value of counterfeit items seized are clear indications of the profits that are involved in the illegal trade of counterfeit NBA championship rings.
“Transnational criminal organizations are shipping illicit goods to the United States via small express parcels in an attempt to circumvent U.S. laws,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP Port Director at LAX. “CBP at LAX commits substantial resources to detect, intercept and seize illicit goods in a challenging e-commerce global environment.”
In fiscal year (FY) 2018, CBP seized 33,810 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated MSRP value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.4 billion from over $1.2 billion in FY 2017.
Wearing apparel and accessories once again topped the list for number of seizures with 6,098, representing 18 percent of all FY 2018 seizures. Watches and jewelry continued as the top products seized by total MSRP value with seizures valued at over $618 million, representing 44 percent of the total. Handbags and wallets were second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.
CBP has established an educational initiative at U.S. airports and online to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at fakegoodsrealdangers page.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov/referral or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.