Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Flea Market Alphabet

When wandering the aisles at Wolff's Flea Market at the Allstate Arena Rosemont, do you sometimes wonder where you are? Just look down and you will see that we have painted a helpful grid with numbered and lettered spaces. Rows are lettered A through Z, with numbers ranging from 1 to 20ish.
The east section is closer and perpendicular to the building and is called "The Single Letter Rows".
A1 is by the southeast entrance, A2 is south, etc. The "Double Letter Rows" are located in the west lot.

So how do you explain exactly where you are? Just learn the flea market alphabet! For beginners.

A-Apple
B-Boy
C-Charlie or Cat
D-Dog
E-Edward
F-Frank
G-Girl
H-Henry
I-Ida
J-Jack
K- Kangaroo
L-Larry
M-Mary
N-Nancy
O-Oscar
P-Paul
Q-Quincy
R-Robert
S-Sam
T-Thomas
U-Umbrella
V-Victor
W-Walter
X-X-ray
Y-Y
Z-Zebra

Oh yeah, if you have any questions, just look for a staff person wearing a chartreuse shirt!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WOLFF'S FLEA MARKET COUNTERFEIT MERCHANDISE GUIDE 1: IPHONE ACCESSORIES - Chargers, Earpods, Lightning Cables, Packaging


August 13, 2013
Too much to read? Just scroll down to the pictures below....

Flea market vendors may find this guide helpful when shopping for merchandise from websites, wholesalers, importers and other sources. Countless online sites like ebay, alibaba.com and dhgate.com, as well as your locally owned independent store and "a guy you know" provide an unfortunate mixture of legitimate and counterfeit products at "too good to be true" prices.  When obtaining your merchandise, please avoid the counterfeit and trademark infringing items pictured and described below.

These specific iPhone accessories have been chosen for this guide because of their popularity and prevalence online, in independently owned stores, at wholesalers and because of their eventual appearance at the flea market level. As always, realize that we are not legal or trademark experts, nor are we affiliated with Apple.  We are a small business that conducts ongoing counterfeit research via retail stores, wholesalers, news stories, independently owned stores, online manufacturers' websites, expert advice, etc. Trademarks are used for purposes of education and discussion and belong to the individual companies.

You are not allowed to sell counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market, and will consequently be out hard-earned money, stuck with unsellable stock and possible permanently ejected from our venues.

 Remember that there can be a fine line between no-name generic compatible products and trademark infringing/counterfeit items. Problems arise in 2 different manners:
  1. DILUTED & CONFUSING: A no-name item is packaged or designed to look exactly or almost exactly like the authentic product (color, shape, similar packaging, etc.)  Consumers are led to believe that they are buying the real thing at a cheap price
  2. OUTRIGHT COUNTERFEIT: A no-name item purports to be the authentic item and labels itself using the name and logo of the authentic item.
The pictures below depict how inferior, illegal counterfeits are designed to look identical to authentic items. Do not purchase the counterfeits to resell!

EXAMPLE #1-CHARGER CUBES



EXAMPLE #2-EARPODS

REAL $29 APPLE EARPODS
                                                   
THE $2 OR LESS FAKES BELOW LOOK ALIKE
AND ARE CONSIDERED COUNTERFEIT BY US!
FAKE FROM DHGATE.COM
FAKE FROM DHGATE.COM
FAKE FROM DHGATE.COM


EXAMPLE #3-LIGHTNING CABLES
FAKE $4.18 AT DHGATE.COM
REAL LIGHTNING TO USB
CABLE $19

EXAMPLE #4-PACKAGING
Compare these 2 boxes and you will see that they look almost identical. The box on the left is missing the Apple logo and contains a counterfeit cable. It infringes upon the real packaging design and leads consumers the think they are purchasing the real deal.

LEFT: Counterfeit box-missing logo, but otherwise looks like the real one
MIDDLE: Counterfeit Lightning Cable in an unlabeled bag.
RIGHT: Authentic box with Apple logo


EXAMPLE #5 BAGS
80% of all counterfeit products are imported. Many of these items are not packaged in branded boxes, but come in clear, unlabeled bags. When we see allegedly branded items in these bags, we suspect the merchandise as being fake, since no licensing or authentic product information is present. 

Box of counterfeit Apple chargers in unbranded bags
Box of counterfeit Lightning Cables in unbranded bags




AS ALWAYS, PLEASE CALL 847-524-9590 WITH QUESTIONS

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saving Stickman From Counterfeit Products


SAVING STICKMAN
Born: 9:23am 7/8/2013  Passed: 9:25am 7/8/2013  
Stickman Jones recently met his demise in an experiment gone wrong. Investigators are currently looking into possible deceitful behavior by overseas counterfeiters or simple human error by Wolff's Research Zone Team members. Involved in the incident were one lab gorilla named Charlie, a standby fireman named Tom and a doctor named Jerry.

On Monday, July 8, 2013 at 9:24am CST, Stickman Jones was drawn, placed inside a suspected counterfeit LifeProof iPhone case and pushed off a cutting board platform into approximately 3" of lukewarm water.

All signs pointed to the fact that Mr. Jones did not know how to swim. First of all, he was made of paper and drawn with water soluble marker.

Plus, according to witnesses, just before the push-off, Jones was heard saying, "I can't swim! Hope this case is waterproof!" This statement was either ignored or misunderstood by Lab Gorilla Charlie, who proceeded to push Stickman off the platform. Charlie's only comment after the tragedy was a tearful grunt.

Furthermore, some witnesses claim that an unidentified human hand seemed to have "appeared from nowhere" and forcefully submerged the case  for several seconds. This fact has not been verified, as no photographic evidence exists. As the case chamber filled with water, Stickman's pleas for help apparently went unheard as Firemen Tom and Dr. Jerry stood cluelessly by. Witnesses say that Tom and Jerry "took no action and looked almost statue-like" during the whole ordeal.

Perhaps the outcome for poor Stickman would have been better had he been given the option of a backup oxygen tank. We know he would still be with us today had he been placed in an authentic waterproof LifeProof case.

Attempts to revive Stickman were of no help. He was soaked and had already begun to dissolve by the time he was removed from the case only 1 minute later.

We'll miss you Stickman.  You were a good, brave, doodle. You sacrificed your short life, just to prove that counterfeits are not only inferior, but dangerous.

Counterfeits deceive consumers and contribute to billions of dollars in lost revenue for legitimate companies. Authentic LifeProof cases are high quality, sturdy and "water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof". This evil counterfeit case indicated poor workmanship, a shoddy seal, and misspellings on the package. It took the life of our dearly departed Stickman. Needless to say, it will not protect your expensive smartphone.

Because of the danger that counterfeits pose to friends like Stickman Jones and to your trusty iPhone, LifeProof cases are now banned at Wolff's Flea Markets.

Images and brand names used for the purposes of discussion and education. Trademarks belong to LifeProof. Wolff's Flea Market prohibits the sale of counterfeit products in all categories. Research is ongoing.

For most updated rules and restrictions, please visit wolffs.com.

Visit the official LifeProof site.

Monday, May 13, 2013

WANTED POSTER: APPLE CHARGERS


WANTED
Counterfeit iPhone chargers:
Alias:
Abble
Warning: May contain green dots and model number A1265
White & multi-color
Last seen inside an “iP” box, clear wrapper or loosely displayed
2 BAD APPLES:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

KEEPING UP WITH COUNTERFEITERS


Updated 9/16/13
Before you begin, I will spoil the ending by telling you that for every cool item listed below, there lurks its illegal, counterfeit doppelganger, hoping to lure unsuspecting consumers into an evil web of decadent deceit. I have seen these wretched real-wannabes. In person. Online. At privately owned "licensed" stores. At the mall. In kiosks. At purse parties. At resale shops. At wholesalers. On eBay. Occasionally at big box stores. And, yes, I have even seen counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market.

What?! Wolff's Flea Market doesn't allow counterfeits! Of course we don't. But you are also not allowed to rob a bank, drive over the speed limit, sell drugs or use child labor to manufacture counterfeit products. Crime happens. Counterfeiting happens. All authorities can do is try to control it and get to the sources to stop its spread. It is a daunting and ongoing task for every agency. We work our wolf-tails off trying to follow trends, educate vendors and keep counterfeits out of our market. We think our open, transparent patrol system works to keep it at bay, but the evil wannabe floats around our bubble? As soon as we know, it must go.

Counterfeiters attempt to cash in on high-end, licensed and designer goods when they create cheap, inferior fakes. As long as manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, a guy, independently owned stores with access to real and fake items exist- and are not stopped at the various "checkpoints" along the way- then counterfeits will exist, remain and attempt to take hold.

According to the April 13, 2013 Crain's Chicago Business article by Brian Dukerschein, Chicago is the number 3 city in the US for the presence and sales of counterfeit luxury goods; preceded by NewYork and Los Angeles. It is all around us here and world-wide. We attempt to be a counterfeit-free bubble in the midst of all this madness. Read our editorial response to this article here: http://wolffsfleamarket.blogspot.com/2013/04/editorial-response-to-crains-chicago.html

I am listing brand names for the purposes of education and discussion. Trademarks belong to the individual companies. This list is not fully inclusive and indicates trends we see at our market and other area venues (current as of the last update of this article). While we have not seen all of these items at the market, we are prepared for their possible arrival. We are not legal experts, but conduct ongoing research in all areas of counterfeiting to fight the presence of counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market.

TECH LOVE
Wolff's Banned Merchandise Collage
There seems to be nothing changing faster than the technology available to us. Using smart phones and computers, we expect information, tech quality and infinite other concepts to be instantly accessible to us. Part of the joy we feel is that new tech toys are continually introduced to make our lives better, easier, cooler.

I share with you a list of some of the hottest tech items on the market. Designer Handbags have taken a back seat here as I believe that Tech is the number 1 counterfeit category seen at our market.  We have even found designer handbag logos on counterfeit cell cases! Unless noted, authentic versions of the below brands are allowed at the market, but remain strictly monitored and may require documentation.

Counterfeit Otterbox cases are
swimming into the Chicago area.
  1. Beats by Dr. Dre - Because of counterfeiting, we never allow this brand to be sold - new/used/real/fake. We are also aware that other high-end headphone brands are on the way from the coasts and beyond. Counterfeit Dr Dre headphones are the most widely seized items at UK customs: http://www.411mania.com/music/news/283599/Fake-Dr.-Dre-Headphones-One-Of-The-Most-Seized-Items-By-UK-Customs.htm
  2. All things related to Apple iPhones - cases, chargers, earbuds, inserts +.
  3. OtterBox smart phone cases-as of 5/26- this brand is banned at our market.
  4. Life Proof smart phone cases
  5. Speck smart phone cases
  6. Samsung accessories
  7. Sony gaming accessories
FASHION LOVE - PURSES
Due to our policy, we rarely see new counterfeit designer handbags. However, distributers are still selling our vendors bags with "diluted" logos. See the blog post: Oops! Trademark Dilution Explained. Most of the bags we find are onesies or twosies of cheap, used counterfeits found at local resale shops, estate sales, etc. These are also not allowed. Below is a list of commonly counterfeited designer purse brands.
  1. Coach - never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  2. Louis Vuitton - never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  3. Gucci- never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  4. G - brand purses are diluted Coach, Guess or Gucci and not allowed
  5. Burberry - Guess what! You may see Burberry-like plaid items like car seats or scarves for sale at your local big-box store!
  6. Dolce & Gabbana
  7. Prada
  8. Kate Spade
  9. Michael Kors
  10. Tory Burch
FASHION LOVE - SUNGLASSES
Although we rarely see a volume of new counterfeit designer sunglasses (same brands as purses), distributers are still selling our vendors a few styles with "diluted" logos. See the blog post: Oops! Trademark Dilution Explained. As of the writing of this article comparative brands are allowed as long as they do not bear designer logos. For the most part, the sunglasses that claim to be "our version of____" comply with trademarked logo rules. Sometimes the manufacturers get a little too close to the real logo and the vendor must remove a few pairs of diluted styles.  "DG" is also allowed as of the writing of this article. DG is its own brand with a trademark on file with the US Patent Office and no pending litigation that we can find as of the writing of this article. DG is not purporting to be D&G- Dolce & Gabbana. Confused? We swim in a very deep cauldron. What applies to one type of product does not always apply to another. You cannot sell a comparative purse brand.

FASHION LOVE - CLOTHING
Certain brands are more prevalent in counterfeit circles. If we see these brands of clothing that are new, we will assume them to be counterfeit and not allow them.

    The North Face Outdoor Gear
  1. True Religion Jeans
  2. Polo Ralph Lauren Shirts
  3. Lacoste Polo Shirts
  4. Northface Jackets - fleece Denali
  5. UGGS boots
  6. Monster -Fox hats, t-shirts and hoodies
COUNTERFEIT HATS FROM
"CHEAPSALE.COM
"
BEING COOL
  1. New Era - sports caps 
  2. American Needle sports caps
  3. Sports jerseys 
  4. Nike shoes - Air Force 1 and any other new releases
  5. Timberland work boots
ACCESSORIES & ETC.
  1. Hello Kitty hair accessories and jewelry
  2. Chanel jewelry
    Boo Hiss for these $5 counterfeit
    Chanel earrings at brdfahion wholesale
  3. Tiffany jewelry
  4. Licensed cartoon character accessories
  5. MAC cosmetics
PERFUME
We are often asked about perfume dealers. First of all, realize that perfumes bearing "Compare to" labels are legal and allowed. We believe we have sifted out the obvious counterfeit guys and continue to monitor current vendors, research sources, receipts and consult with experts. You will see only a small handful of perfume vendors at our market who we currently believe (as of this update) to have legitimate documentation about their products' authenticity. We do ask occasional vendors to pack up and leave the market if they do not have appropriate paperwork. This research is ongoing.

CDs and DVDs
New releases, home-made copies, multiple recordings in one copies and otherwise illegal copies are monitored. We have been educated by representatives of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and keep a close eye on these products. Occasionally people who clean out homes may have a mixed batch of used items: often home-made recordings. We educate and expect them to remove what doesn't belong.

Vendors, don't despair! Your suppliers also have legitimate, non-infringing, generic items that are acceptable and legal. You just need to do your homework.

Ok, that's all for now. Let's have some flea market fun!


Monday, April 15, 2013

WOLFF'S FLEA MARKET EDITORIAL RESPONSE TO CRAIN'S CHICAGO ARTICLE ABOUT COUNTERFEITING



Wolff's Flea Market response is to Brian Dukerschein’s April 13 article, "Counterfeit Luxury Goods Invade Chicago". 


http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130413/ISSUE01/304139986?template=mobile&X-IgnoreUserAgent=1 (In order to read the full Crain's article, you will need to register for free at chicagobusiness.com)


My name is Sharon Wolff. I am Creative Media and Merchandise Consultant for Wolff’s Flea Market, Chicago area. Our family-owned outdoor market has operated at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont since 1991. We also operate an indoor market in Palatine.



I am writing to several Crain's staff in response to the aforementioned article with the intent that this message be read and understood by many in the Chicago community.

Wolff's Counterfeit Cartoon
First, realize that not all flea markets tolerate counterfeit products. Wolff’s public stance is that counterfeit merchandise is never allowed. We work diligently to create a legitimate, family friendly venue for antiques, collectibles, bargain shopping, resale and new merchandise.  We have been told that given regulations and reputation, counterfeit vendors avoid us.

I have personally addressed and educated other flea market owners at the National Flea Market Association Conference regarding the issues of counterfeiting. Opinions stated in this commentary reflect the views of Wolff’s Flea Market. We are not legal experts. Ongoing product research is an independent venture that has resulted in the development of working procedures to combat counterfeiting at Wolff’s flea Markets.

Please refer our website, rules and several Wolff's Flea Market Blog articles written by me that attest to the fact that we take this issue very seriously.

Wolff’s Flea Market is wholly aware that categorical counterfeiting is a worldwide problem. We imagine an infinite amount of imported and locally manufactured counterfeit products that cycle the economy after bypassing numerous checkpoints (customs, ports, websites, alleged licensed wholesalers, a guy, etc.) along the way before trickling down to potential all-you-can eat buffets at local flea markets. We recognize that there are many agencies and authorities assigned to this task. In reality, not everything is intercepted or seized. It then becomes our responsibility to look for it at the flea market...

For us, as soon as we know, it must go. We closely monitor merchandise, and enforce strict procedures for our “Prevention-Identification & Intervention-Education-Research-Counterfeits-Everywhere” (PIERCE) Program. Research is an ongoing race and parameters of analysis are ever changing as counterfeiters attempt to “improve” upon their never-ending chain of products. I study current trends, commonly counterfeited brands, seizures, arrests, read books, subscribe to brand name news and counterfeit alerts. I consult designers, investigators, experts and visit retail stores, wholesalers, online sites and more. I write informative detailed reports. We have a growing list of specific brands that are never allowed to be sold at our markets.

It is critically important to realize what I encounter during “Research Trips” to privately owned “authorized” stores, wholesalers, kiosks and pop-up stores at malls. These ventures activate my “Merchandise Patrol” mentality. Sadly, while intending to study legitimate products, I CONSISTENTLY FIND COUNTERFEITS ALONGSIDE THE REAL ITEMS. Wolff’s recognizes that counterfeits are prevalent and unchecked in a variety of the above places. Even big box stores are not immune to the problem of counterfeiting or the occasional presence of unlicensed product.

At our flea market, we do our best to keep counterfeit merchandise out. However, as long as it enters the country, as long as fakes are created and re-created, as long as it is accessible, our job will not end. Nor will the jobs of any authorities on all levels. We get it, we are with you in this battle, so please do not generalize that all flea markets are havens for counterfeit merchandise.

Beyond the fight, one of our primary goals is to educate our vendors. As a special education teacher for 8 years I understand that people acquire information in different ways. I teach our full-time merchandise patrol staff and vendors using a combination of written materials, sample merchandise (real and counterfeit), and many photo examples. Once educated, we hope to believe that vendors will be able to make appropriate decisions regarding their sources and products. 99% of our vendors are agreeable and open to frank, honest learning and communication. They must learn the realistic legal dangers to themselves for selling counterfeits. I also create and distribute pictorial educational reports and news articles of arrests. If a vendor purposely chooses to bring counterfeit products to the market at a future time, then he or she is immediately and permanently ejected.

Pounding the pavement, fighting counterfeits, one item at a time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Are Novelty Lighters? Why Are They banned?


In keeping with state law and safety standard, we do not allow the sale of novelty lighters at Wolff's Flea Market

ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY PUBLIC ACT 096-1174 EFFECTIVE DATE 7/22/2010

SOURCES & LINKS:
 http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=096-1174
http://www.ncdoi.com/osfm/Fire_Safety_Programs/Default.aspx?field1=Novelty_Lighters&user=Novelty_Lighters 

ACCEPTABLE LIGHTERS
A Novelty lighter is a "mechanical or electrical devise typically used for lighting cigarettes, cigars or pipes that is designed to resemble a cartoon character, toy, gun, watch, musical instrument, vehicle, animal, food or beverage, or similar articles, or that plays musical notes, or has flashing lights or other entertaining features"

A novelty lighter may operate on any fuel. including butane, isobutane or liquid fuel

Novelty lighter does not include any of the following:

  1. A lighter manufactured before January 1, 1980
  2. A lighter incapable of being fuels or lacking a device necessary to produce combustion or a flame,
  3. Any mechanical or electrical device primarily used to ignite fuel for fireplaces or for charcoal or gas grills.
  4. Standard disposable and refillable lighters that are printed or decorated with logos, labels, decals, or artwork, or heat-shrinkable sleeves
BELOW ARE EXAMPLES OF BANNED NOVELTY LIGHTERS
BANNED NOVELTY LIGHTERS

BANNED NOVELTY LIGHTERS
BANNED NOVELTY LIGHTERS



Friday, March 15, 2013

APPLE IPHONE ACCESSORIES - PART 1 - BOXES

PART ONE: IPHONE ACCESSORY EDUCATION - BOXES
For Merchandise Rules, go to: http://wolffs.com/pages/merchandise



PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE SEVERELY RESTRICTING THE TYPES OF 
COMPATIBLE APPLE/IPHONE/IPOD/IPAD ACCESSORIES ALLOWED AT THE MARKET

We appreciate everyone's cooperation as we enact this protocol.

Due to the popularity and exclusivity of Apple products, several versions of infringing chargers, cases, earbuds and packaging, etc. exist online and from other sources. It is possible that generic, compatible non-infringing items would be allowed, but this is a complicated situation and we must take it upon ourselves to analyze various parameters in order to make a final decision regarding the appropriateness of individual products. 

Please call with questions. While we are not legal or trademark experts, we are currently studying this ever-changing, developing situation and creating our own guidelines. 

Ask before you buy cell phone accessories for resale! Your wholesaler may not stock an acceptable product.

iPhone/iPad/iPod are trademarks of Apple. Images shown for purposes of education and discussion as part of our ongoing efforts of research.

THESE BOXES ARE NOT ALLOWED
Example Effective immediately, accessories packed in these Apple look-alike boxes are not allowed. Realize that Apple investigators are looking for and seizing these items at customs, wholesalers, stores and eventually flea markets. The packaging infringes on Apple's well-known black or white packaging and may attempt to lead consumers into thinking they are getting an authentic Apple product, when it is actually a cheap, generic item. 

AUTHENTIC APPLE PACKAGING - I DO NOT YET HAVE A HEADPHONE BOX, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PICTURES OF OUR FAVORITE TIRE PLANTERS

 TRANSFORM OLD TIRES INTO ONE OF A KIND RECYCLED CREATIONS

LETSUPCYCLE.COM

SISTERSEESISTERDO.BLOGSPOT.COM


NATURALEARNING.COM

YOUGROWGIRL.COM

KLRU.ORG

LEMONBEANANDTHINGS.BLOGSPOT.COM

PERMIES.COM
EATINGRULES.COM

Friday, February 22, 2013

CLINT EASTWOOD'S HEAD

By Sharon Wolff

I grew up watching Clint Eastwood movies and have been observing his head for two years. Mr. Eastwood resided high upon a shelf in Stan's booth at Wolff's Flea Market, Palatine. He appeared to be a creation by an unknown sculptor that I believe captured his calm and self-confident persona. Just kind of hanging around, perhaps a little dusty as funky like other funky flea market treasures. Just waiting for the right buyer, any buyer. Passers by may or may not have noticed him. But I saw him. In fact he inspired me to create the SIMPLY HEADS facebook photo collection. Every time I passed him, I thought, "Yup, that's Clint, he still there, his fixed stern gaze perhaps guarding Stan's antiques and collectibles booth. No one would mess with Clint Eastwood.

So, imagine my wonder when I saw one of our more colorful shoppers, Mark casually carrying Clint off into the sunset. Well, not really the sunset, just up and down the Palatine aisles and into my field of vision.  I had to get the scoop on this sudden turn of events. It turns out that the buyer liked it, his friend did not. I think Clint will end up at a store in Indiana, hopefully to be adopted by a decorator or lover of the unique. I hope to continue to follow up on Mr. Eastwood final destination.

Oh Clint, how far did you travel to arrive at Wolff's? Who made you? Stan, where did Clint come from? Stan's answer: Some thrift shop in Joliet.

See Clint Eastwood's Wolff's Flea Market debut here: SIMPLY HEADS



Stoic and watchful - Clint Eastwood

Bye Bye Clint Eastwood!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

COUNTERFEITS FROM OVERSEAS - WHO IS CBP?



COUNTERFEITS FROM OVERSEAS
WHO IS CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION?
 Sharon Wolff
 Quotes from the source:
“The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) keeps foreign pirated and counterfeit goods from being imported to the United States.” http://www.stopfakes.gov/us-gov-agencies/cbp

“The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers. The trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises. CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program. CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.” http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/priority_trade/ipr/

That said, we respond with our commentary on the above quotes:
We recognize that CBP seizes an enormous amount of counterfeit goods at the U.S. border. It is both commendable and astounding. Click this link for a list of 2013 busts. http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/priority_trade/ipr/ipr_communications/ipr_nr_linklist.xml
Yet, with no system being 100% perfect, and overseas counterfeit production being rampant, importers and exporters are still able to get past customs to deliver their counterfeit goods in whole and in pieces.

The next time you think you have found a treasure at your
local garage sale or thrift shop, check again for these removable tags
Example: These designer tags and stickers may be ordered separately from several web sources. They arrive from overseas in innocuous packaging that may not be obviously detectable to the CBP. When paired with a “generic blank” purse, a simple, cheap counterfeit purse is created.  Warning:  Do not use this article for instructions on assembling a counterfeit purse! Items are shown for purposes of education and discussion and trademarks belong to the individual companies.   








When counterfeit merchandise is not found and seized at the border, it then continues to cycle through the U.S. economy. First stop, we believe is a local warehouse. Then, on to a wholesaler or wholesale connection, then possibly off to a smaller local brick and mortar store.

At this point the counterfeit goods have now become accessible to the public. “Final” shoppers may buy counterfeit goods directly from these establishments and end the cycle right there. Likewise, smaller resellers, such as flea market vendors are also able to purchase bulk deals in counterfeit merchandise from these stores, individuals or wholesalers. The cycle of “buying for cheap, selling for more” continues as these goods travel from one person and location to the next.

Depending upon their level of experience, awareness and education, flea market vendors may knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate this cycle. The flea market vendor is the smallest businessperson of all, and perhaps the most vulnerable. Goods are out in the open and possibly easy to spot. Consequently, over the years, many flea markets and individuals have been the target of busts for counterfeit merchandise.

We try to stop this cycle on our home front by educating our vendors regarding counterfeit goods, merchandise sources and potential consequences. It is an ongoing effort that involves research, education, intervention and prevention.




Monday, February 11, 2013

National Flea Market Association Conference

TROPICANA HOTEL, LAS VEGAS FEBRUARY 4-6, 2013
Wolff's 2013 NFMA Conference Crew

Wolff's Flea Market is a member of the National Flea Market Association (NFMA). This organization "exists to serve the public interest and to benefit the flea market industry by fostering high standards of business conduct which merits public trust". (http://www.fleamarkets.org/)

Trademark Panel Discussion
This annual conference is open to the owners, managers and staff of flea markets across America. The conference includes two days of educational sessions led by professionals and market representatives. We were all able to glean information useful
to our businesses regarding social media, 
customer relations, advertising, networking and more. It is a wonderful venue for us to share expertise and experiences. We can always learn from each other!


Flea market lovers can also follow the NFMA facebook fan page HERE






This year, Sharon Wolff was invited to participate in a panel discussion regarding Trademark and Counterfeit issues. Says Sharon, "I was honored to sit on this panel with two other knowledgeable flea market representatives and an attorney versed in Trademark Law. My passion is to educate our vendors regarding counterfeit merchandise and prevent these items from cycling their way into our market. This is an ongoing process of research and education because products and parameters are always evolving."

NFMA Participants Examine Items in The Haul of Shame



Part of Sharon's presentation included selections from the "Haul of Shame". 14  items were set out on a table with labels describing why they were considered counterfeit. "This was an excellent way for people to get a hands-on view of counterfeit products and to spot some common parameters.  Meaningful questions and conversations ensued."

So, until next year-Grab a friend and visit your local flea market! See you at the flea!



Sharon Wolff
Creative Director & Merchandise Consultant at Wolff's Flea Market 
  
Sharon Wolff of Wolff's Flea Market in Illinois is the Creative Director as well as the Merchandise Consultant for this highly successful flea market.  When Sharon isn't busy handling the day-to-day creative activities of writing newsletters and blogs, taking pictures and creating viral videos or handling social media, she is implementing policies and training staff on identifying counterfeit merchandise.  Whether she is researching counterfeit cases, studying brand websites or reading books on copyright and trademark law, Sharon remains on top of this ever-changing environment. Sharon works diligently to ensure that her business complies with local and federal legal requirements. 

We are honored to have Sharon Wolff join the Trademark/Intellectual Property Law panel to share with other Flea Market owners the best practices for tackling the complexity of Trademark Law, and how owners can implement these practices on their own properties.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WHY SO MANY PICTURES?

Sharon Wolff


Some finds are a little scary
People often ask me, "What do they sell at your flea market?" Of course, the appropriate answer is a list of whichever 10 categories of merchandise I can conjure up at the moment. However, when am feeling philosophical, I answer "Everything that has ever been manufactured, sold, old, new, discarded, dusty, crafted, resold, re-made, found, tossed, lost, one of a kind, mysterious, mass produced, broken, repaired, rusty, shiny, valuable, junky, funky, created, overstocked, overlooked, discounted, abandoned, liked, disliked and anything else that defies logic."

Each week, laden with clipboard, reading glasses, walkie talkie, cell phone and two cameras, I navigate the markets. If I am at Rosemont, I also carry a 10 pound backpack, sunscreen and water bottle. Often, I drop something. Thank you to everyone who helps me retrieve my papers before they fly away.
Where would you put this? Who made it and where has it been? 

I make frequent stops to scrutinize a particular object that catches my eye. Rather, I am drawn as if by magnetic force to the unique spreads that vendors have carefully, carelessly or just nonchalantly placed out for sale. Some items I have never seen in my life, and will never see again. Some I see over and over again and others remind me of my childhood. Some are even scary. I often wonder about the thought process and planning behind the original
manufacturing of the product.
Disco Shoes

These objects inspire me in an ongoing, never ending quest to group like items together into facebook photo albums and youTube movies.







Actually found this twice!


Although, Elvis visits frequently,
he appears in a specific form only once
See ELVIS!


No matter how many photos I take, I will never be able to say that I have seen it all. And what applies to flea market shoppers, applies to flea market photographers. Better grab it/photograph it now or it will be gone!
Some find are sweet

Ribboned up Barbie
So, what's in your bag? To see just a fraction of America's trickled down items and beyond check out a few of our more unusual albums on facebook and Pinterest. Ever changing, ever growing.

Seen just one time


Tire planter (still for sale in Palatine) 
Really? This is on the Outsider Art Wall at Palatine
(AKA Ugly Art Wall)
Handmade. Go Cubs!