The Customs and Border Protection Services were initially tipped off by belt buckles. Looking at a few examples of the 800 contained in the shipment, the officials were able to determine that the buckles used images and words which were identical or very similar to trademarked ones, but the buckles were not original.
As the importer could not provide any documentation allowing him use of the trademarks, the whole shipment was impounded. It contained many more pieces of unlicensed merchandise.
The trademarked phrases included on these, along with the images, included 'Michael Jackson', 'Moonwalker', 'King of Pop' and 'Bad World Tour'.
The CBP have devoted a lot of time and resources to cracking down on violations of intellectual property as a priority. Its leaders believe that such misuse is very damaging to the economy, but the problem is becoming increasingly difficult to deal with due to globalisation. Counterfeit goods can be made and shipped in from anywhere.
They need to be extremely rigorous and co-operate with other countries as well as other US agencies to be effective.
Jackson memorabilia is being traded on a vast scale in the aftermath of his recent death. This includes everything from belt buckles at the low end to the items only available to millionaires, such as the Warhol painting of Jackson we reported on recently.
Collectors purchasing memorabilia should always use trustworthy sources, such as Paul Fraser Collectibles.