LOS ANGELES –– As Kings fans gear up for the drama of the Western Conference Finals for the first time since advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993, counterfeiters are gearing up as well, warns the National Hockey League. To help Kings fans identify authentic 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs merchandise, the NHL has offered consumers these guidelines to separate fact from fiction.
FICTION: There’s no way for me to tell a real product from a fake.
FACT: Although counterfeiters are becoming savvier, fans can avoid being victimized by shopping carefully and using the following guidelines:
- Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce "genuine" or "official" merchandise.
- Shop at legitimate retailers, such as the Official Kings Team Store and shop.NHL.com, rather than buy items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
- Beware of apparel that contains ripped tags or irregular markings.
- A price that seems “too good to be true” is usually a good indication that an item is counterfeit.
FICTION: Counterfeiting isn’t that big of a problem.
FACT: Counterfeiting is a significant issue, particularly during large sporting events like the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, working closely with local law enforcement, the NHL was involved in the seizure of more than 3,500 pieces of counterfeit NHL merchandise with a retail value of more than $500,000. Since 1993, the NHL – through its membership in the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) – has been involved in the seizure of an estimated 10 million pieces of counterfeit merchandise featuring the logos of various professional sports leagues and teams, colleges and universities – valued at more than $369 million.
FICTION: Products sold by counterfeiters are just as good as authentic products.
FACT: Counterfeits are notorious for inferior quality. Seized goods from past events have included misspelled player names, poor quality screen-printing, inferior embroidery, outdated logos, inaccurate team colors, and materials that fall short of quality and safety standards.
FICTION: Counterfeits are an alternative for genuine merchandise that is too expensive.
FACT: The NHL offers genuine Stanley Cup Playoffs merchandise at a wide range of prices. Purchasing authorized League merchandise not only ensures the quality of the souvenir, but also provides a reputable source for returns and exchanges and for expressing concerns. Adds Tom Prochnow, group vice president of legal and business affairs for NHL Enterprises: “You get what you pay for whenever you purchase counterfeit merchandise or apparel. Buying a t-shirt or jersey that contains a misspelled name or shrinks in the wash is no way for NHL fans to celebrate the success of the Kings on the ice this season.”
FICTION: Counterfeiting doesn’t hurt local businesses or the community.
FACT: Businesses worldwide lose an estimated $600 – 700 billion annually due to counterfeiting, according to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC). Los Angeles is not immune to the counterfeiting problem, as counterfeiters not only take sales away from legitimate retailers in the area but also avoid paying taxes to support the community. Every sale given to a counterfeiter is a potential sale lost by a local business that plays by the rules.
FICTION: Counterfeit products aren’t sold in the area.
FACT: Large sporting events (including the Stanley Cup Playoffs) are a magnet for counterfeiters, many of whom travel around the country with the sole intention of scamming innocent sports fans. Security at all Stanley Cup Playoffs events will be tight, and the NHL will be working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities, who will be responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise.
FICTION: Customers are helpless against counterfeiters.
FACT: Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) exists to help consumers identify counterfeits. CAPS was formed in 1992 as an alliance between The Collegiate Licensing Company, Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., NBA Properties, Inc., NFL Properties LLC, and NHL Enterprises, L.P. 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.