OCEAN CITY – While investigating trademark and copyright violations associated with the upcoming bike week event, Ocean City detectives this week confiscated approximately $35,000 worth of items.
The Ocean City Police Department was contacted by representatives from Delmarva Bike Week because of concerns about trademark violations at local businesses. The phrases “Delmarva Bike Week” and “Ocean City Bike Week” are copyrighted by B Line, Inc. and cannot be displayed on apparel, jewelry, or novelty products.
As a result of the probe, two merchants were served with letters ordering them to cease the sale of all counterfeit products. No charges have been filed. Five other merchants were served search and seizure warrants because of previous violations. Charges are pending.
The Planet Surf, 200 Baltimore Avenue, and the Beach Hut, 607 Atlantic Avenue, were found to possess counterfeit bike week merchandise and served cease and desist letters. Businesses served with search and seizure warrants and having merchandise seized were T-Shirt Factory stores at 819 Atlantic Avenue, 601 Atlantic Avenue, and 14 S. Atlantic Avenue; Sassy’s, 300 S. Atlantic Avenue; and Sunshine Beachwear, 604 S. Atlantic Avenue.
According to Bruce Krasner, owner of the T-Shirt Factory stores and the Beach Hut, retailers find themselves in a “gray area” when it comes to counterfeit merchandise. He said all of the bike week apparel he sells has the tag “Bike Week Ocean City, Md. 2007.” Krasner said, “that’s perfectly legal.”
Krasner acknowledged 68 T-shirts were confiscated this week. He said the merchandise was in storage and not being sold because he had been in direct communication with B Line, Inc. and questioned whether certain merchandise was in violation. He was told by B Line it may be. Therefore, he was waiting to hear official word before selling them.
“It’s such a gray area. They have never actually come out and said this is what you can do and this is what you cannot do. It’s very vague. If they would have just come talk to me, I would have given it to them,” Krasner said. “They took some decals that just said Ocean City and had a picture of a motorcycle on it.”
Krasner said his operation’s intent is not to infringe on trademark and copyright issues.
”If I was a bootlegger and I was a criminal, don’t you think I would have had far more than 68 T-shirts, and I remind you they were in the back of the store,” Krasner said. “They were not out to sell. We were waiting to hear from the [B Line] salesman on whether the design was okay or not.”