PITTSBURGH – Steelers fans are expectedly excited that the playoffs start Sunday and are hopeful for a long run to the Super Bowl. They’re out buying playoff swag and new jerseys, but some are also basking in former glory and purchasing championship rings from Super Bowls past. But just like a jilted lover, they’ll never see those rings, because the Super Bowl rings they purchased online are counterfeit.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Pittsburgh seized a combined 60 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl rings in eight different parcels that arrived from China and were destined to addresses in Allegheny County. The rings arrived as six-ring sets and represented each of the Steelers six Super Bowl championships.
The parcels arrived between December 9 and December 23. CBP officers suspected the rings to be counterfeit and detained them. CBP import specialist confirmed that the rings violated NFL and Steelers intellectual property rights trademarks, and officers completed the seizures on the rings through Thursday.
If authentic, the Steelers Super Bowl rings would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $90,000.
“Steelers’ fans are some of the best fans in the country and I certainly can appreciate them wanting to own collector sets representing their team’s past glories, but upon further review, these rings are counterfeit and the call to seize them stands,” said Keith Fleming, CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “Consumer goods like these are illegal, steal revenues from our nation’s economy, and are often constructed with potentially harmful materials that could threaten consumers’ health. Customs and Border Protection urges consumers to protect themselves and their families by always purchasing safe, authentic goods from reputable vendors.”
CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.
On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2019.
CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in FY 2018. However, the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.
E- Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In FY 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments
The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.
Read CBP’s Intellectual Property Seizure Report for Fiscal Year 2019 for more IPR stats and analysis.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.