Friday, October 21, 2011

$3 Million In Counterfeit Goods Seized From DC Farmers Market

A news release from U.S. Customs earlier this week confirms that nearly $3 million worth of counterfeit goods were seized from the DC Farmers Market on 5th St and Neal Place NE.  The raid was conducted by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) and the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).   The agents arrested 11 individuals for violating state trademark laws and seized over 18,000 pieces of counterfeit clothing, accessories, movies and music.  Once these goods have been properly processed as evidence they will be destroyed to ensure that they do not end up back in commerce.

Some may question why members of both the state and federal government would devote considerable time and resources to finding counterfeit purses and such.  Although their efforts may seem unreasonable to some, there are few legitimate explanations as to why law enforcement officials target counterfeiters.  First, counterfeit goods violate state and federal trademark laws which subsequently violate the IP rights of trademark owners such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Lacoste, Nike, etc. Secondly, intelligence information has revealed that large scale counterfeit operations are often a part of larger criminal organizations.  Therefore, buying counterfeit goods may directly supports organized crime.  Finally, these types of counterfeiting operations takes away legitimate job opportunities for those in fashion and other related industries.  So, when evaluating the bigger picture, what was accomplished by ICE, HSI and MPD can certainly be considered an effective use of our tax dollars.

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