Counterfeit Giants gear headed to needy kids in Haiti

SAN FRANCISCO

Customs agents held a show and tell Tuesday at the customs house on Battery Street near Washington Street. Agents showed off $150,000 worth of counterfeit Giants gear and were telling the media about why it is important for the country.

While many people in the Bay Area were watching the Giants make their way through the playoffs and World Series last fall, federal agents were busy outside the park, busting folks selling shirts, caps, flags and other counterfeit goods.

One problem is the theft of intellectual property, like the Giants logo, the distinctive Giants font or the Nike logo. Sales of goods with those trademarked items should benefit those who have created and/or trademarked them.

Also, agents say the counterfeit items can cost Americans jobs.

"Genuine shirts are made by Americans, so theoretically you are putting an American out of work because someone is buying a shirt that's made counterfeit versus a genuine shirt," Asst. Special Agent Anthony Ho said. "Well, that affects jobs, ultimately and in this economy, every job counts."

But what do you do with over 2,000 items with Giants logos on them? In this case, they are all going to Haiti.

It's like a double play; customs is sending the items to World Vision, which is relaying them to Love A Child, a Christian humanitarian agency which works exclusively in Haiti. They should be in time for the 2011 World Series.

U.S. customs agents last year did 20,000 seizures, from electronics to drugs to toys, up 34 percent from the year before.

The street value of the goods had they been legitimate was $1.4 billion.

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