Defending the brand: Cracking down on bootleggers in Cleveland

Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Some local business owners say people are selling bootleg souvenirs to fans and they're not happy others are profiting off their work.

Tony Madalone created the slogan "Defend The Land" for his company, Fresh Brewed Tees, and then struck a deal with the Cavs, who made it official this season.

"We own the trademark for all apparel. So whether it's hats, socks, shoes, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pants, whatever -- if you use 'Defend the Land,' you have to get our permission," Madalone said.

But not everyone does. Madalone says there's a lot of counterfeit merchandise out there, even some online.

"We see bootlegs all over the place, a lot of the grocery stores are carrying them, you see them on every street corner. Those are not licensed Fresh Brewed Tees or CAVS products. Numerous websites are carrying them so we're actively always sending cease and desist," he said.

His company's lawyers usually send a strongly worded letter.

Copyright attorney, Rick Ferrara, says trying to cut down on counterfeit merchandise is a constant battle. He's counsel for another local company, GV Art + Design in Lakewood, and sometimes deals with confrontation.

"I actually confronted the vendor about the counterfeit product and you know, you don't get a good response. You get yelled at, it's definitely unpleasant, but sometimes you have to do that to protect the brand," he said.

Madalone hasn't had to sue anyone yet and hopes it doesn't come to that.

"It's not even about the money as much as it is just about what's right and supporting local businesses," he said.

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