U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are continuing their crackdown on replica championship rings.
CBP officers in Cincinnati say they recently seized three shipments of counterfeit championship rings created overseas that were headed for destinations in the U.S.
On October 5, officers in Cincinnati seized two separate shipments containing 94 homemade rings they say came from Singapore and United Arab Emirates. They included those made to look like Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals championship rings.
The following week on October 13, CBP officers seized another shipment containing 200 counterfeit Dodgers rings that originated in Saudi Arabia. All were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), the agency’s trade experts. The shipments were destined for private residences in California, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.
On August 15, CBP officers in Indianapolis added 213 more rings to their collection of intercepted packages bringing their total to 1,204 counterfeit championship rings in four months.
The group included 14 Chicago Cub World Series rings, 11 Houston Astros World Series rings, four San Francisco Giants World Series rings, 24 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl rings, 12 Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl rings, 28 Chicago Bulls NBA championship rings, 24 Boston Celtics NBA championship rings, 24 Dallas Stars NHL Stanley Cup rings and dozens of Nebraska college football rings, among others.
On September 13, officers at the Chicago port of entry seized a shipment from China that contained 86 championship rings. The parcel contained fake championship rings from the Bulls (24), New York Yankees (34), St. Louis Cardinals (22), and Philadelphia Eagles (6).
‘Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the nation who may be scammed into paying high prices for fake memorabilia,’ said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, the director of field operations in Chicago.
Over a 13-month period ending late in 2019, the CBP in Memphis seized 631 rings that were shipped from China. In late summer that year, another group of replica NBA rings from China were seized at Los Angeles International Airport.
In December of last year, Customs and Border Protection officers in Pittsburgh seized a combined 60 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.
“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,” Keith Fleming, CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore said at the time.
While the agency consistently calls them counterfeit, most collectors would know the difference between originals and inexpensive knock-offs. However, the rings contain logos and trademarks that are protected by the leagues and teams and the seizures are part of intellectual property rights enforcement efforts. In all, CBP says it seized 27,599 shipments with IPR violations in fiscal year 2019.