As in, officially licensed NBA merchandise.
We've included an example of a counterfeit 2009 All-Star logo to help customers know what to look for in faux memorabilia.
Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president & chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA, warns in an NBA news release today (reprinted below) to avoid purchasing products of "inferior quality." Typos are one sign of a bad deal -- Shaq rap song titles excluded, naturally.
The NBA hopes to scare people away from purchasing All-Star items at streetcorners, in flea markets or from "other questionable sources."
What? Places like our cherished El Gran Mercado, a "questionable source" for merchandise? Say it isn't so!
NBA CAUTIONS BASKETBALL FANS ABOUT COUNTERFEIT
League will be on the lookout for counterfeiters in Phoenix this week,
as city gears up for NBA All-Star Game
PHOENIX - February 10, 2009 - Basketball fans aren't the only ones flocking to Phoenix for this week's NBA All-Star Game. So are counterfeiters, warns the NBA. And they're eager to target unsuspecting fans with their illegal and poorly produced knock-off NBA merchandise. Potential victims will range from authorized retailers in the Phoenix area to basketball fans who believe they're purchasing authentic NBA souvenirs in commemoration of this special event, only to later learn they've obtained counterfeit merchandise of inferior quality.
Since 1993, the NBA - through its membership in the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) - has been involved in the seizure of more than nine million pieces of counterfeit merchandise featuring the logos of various professional sports leagues and teams, colleges and universities - valued at more than $329 million. Such counterfeiting often occurs around large sporting events like NBA All-Star 2009, taking place in Phoenix, February 12-15.
"The NBA insists upon the highest quality products, to protect both our authorized vendors and our fans," said Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president & chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA. "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."
To avoid being victimized by counterfeiters, Deutsch urges basketball fans to:
· Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying the merchandise as "genuine" or "official," as authorized by the NBA.
· Shop at NBA-authorized retail locations, such as the NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas at the Phoenix Convention Center, U.S. Airways Center, NBAStore.com and official hotels - rather than buying items from street vendors, flea markets, or other questionable sources.
· Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
"When it comes to counterfeits, you get what you pay for," added Deutsch. "A counterfeit t-shirt is not a keepsake if it contains a typo or shrinks three sizes when you put it in the laundry."
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In addition to misleading consumers who believe they are buying legitimate memorabilia, counterfeiting significantly harms lawful vendors through lost business.
Security at all NBA events will be tight this week and the NBA will be working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, who will be responsible for security measures including the enforcement of local laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise during NBA All-Star 2009 events.
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.