By Robert Strenge, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University police, working at the request of the WSU Trademark Licensing Office, executed a search warrant and seized over 700 T-shirts and sweatshirts before the WSU vs. UCLA football game Saturday evening.
The merchandise was seized from an unlicensed vendor who was selling items on campus near popular tailgating areas. The items have an estimated street value of $15,500. Charges will be forwarded to the Whitman County prosecutor’s office for a class C felony on the unlicensed vendor.
Manufacturing and selling unlicensed merchandise is against the law, as defined by statute RCW 9.16.030 – Counterfeit mark – Intellectual property: Any person who willfully and knowingly, and for financial gain, manufactures, uses, displays, advertises, distributes, offers for sale, sells or possesses with intent to sell or distribute any item, or offers any services, bearing or identified by a counterfeit mark, is guilty of the crime of counterfeiting.
“When you buy counterfeit merchandise, you are giving your money to someone who is committing a crime,” said Alyce Anderson, director of trademark licensing for WSU. “Buying unlicensed merchandise also hurts the overall brand equity of the university and takes sales away from the vendors who are invested in following the law and acting as good stewards of the WSU brand.”
WSU, like all major brand owners, has invested significant resources over the years to protect and build its national brand through its trademark licensing program. WSU works with about 340 licensed vendors to provide approved designs and merchandise of the quality expected from WSU fans and consumers.
When purchasing WSU merchandise, consumers should look for the following identifiers to ensure the merchandise is officially licensed:
• The “Officially Licensed Collegiate Product” hologram somewhere on the product or hangtag.
• WSU logos and trademarks depicted in a tasteful manner, consistent with the designs and school depictions approved by WSU.
• An intact tag on the garment. A torn or missing tag can be evidence of a second-hand garment, one that probably would not meet the quality standards put in place by the WSU.
• The name of the manufacturer on the product, either on a hangtag, a neck label, or screen-printed directly on the garment.
• The appropriate trademark designations (i.e., TM, ®) next to a specific name or design.
The university routinely conducts game-day and marketplace enforcement efforts to protect consumers and the WSU brand. WSU asks consumers to purchase officially licensed products to help support the Cougs.
News media contact:
Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583, firstname.lastname@example.org