Illicit parade marketing
NHL plans crackdown on counterfeit Red Wings' merchandise
Posted: Thursday June 18, 1998 12:06 PM
DETROIT (AP) -- Vendors of counterfeit Detroit Red Wings
merchandise were expected by authorities as unwelcome guests for a parade
and rally honoring the Stanley Cup champions.
The NHL plans to
counter the illicit merchandise with federal agents posing as customers
during Hockeytown's celebration Thursday of the World Champion Wings.
"Parades like this are their biggest opportunity to exploit fan
excitement" by hawking souvenirs like T-shirts of questionable quality,
said Mary Sotis, associate general counsel for the NHL's marketing arm.
She calls the counterfeiters predators who could have plenty of
prey: With the Wings' title last year -- their first in 42 years -- a crowd
estimated at 1 million filled the procession route from the Fox Theater to
Hart Plaza. City leaders hoped for a larger crowd this time.
part of Thursday's counterfeiting crackdown in Detroit, federal marshals
working with the NHL were to scan the parade route, eager to seize
unlicensed merchandise and serve the vendors with trademark-infringement
lawsuits bearing possible fines.
"Counterfeiters can expect that
we'll turn up when they least expect it"' she said of the local sting that
last year produced court summonses for roughly 50 counterfeiters and
seizures of more than 3,000 items.
"Our best weapon against
counterfeiters is consumer awareness," she said. "If there's no market for
counterfeiting, they won't come back."
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