Nike Air Jordan launched in 1984. Source: VOGUE
Five people have been charged in New York with trafficking in counterfeit Nike Air Jordans that, if authentic, would have been worth $73 million, according to the NYPD and Homeland Security Investigations.
Prosecutors say the group imported over 300,000 fake trainers from China before selling them across America. More than 42 containers labelled as generic shoes entered Port Newark between January 2016 and July 2018. Counterfeit Nike trademarked logos were attached to the trainers, including fake Air Jordan VIIs, Air Jordan XIs, and Air Jordan XIIIs, before they were shipped across the country.
“The five defendants in this case allegedly counterfeited over $70 million in fake Nike shoes and sold them to buyers on the US market,” Manhattan US attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “I commend our law enforcement partners for helping to bring today’s charges, which send a clear message to would-be counterfeiters: ‘Just don’t do it.’”
According to the International Trademark Association, $460 billion worth of counterfeit goods were bought and sold in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the internet, where it is easy to hide, is responsible for this booming business. Red Points, a brand-protection firm, found that six of the fake goods e-tailers had headquarters in the Far East, in particular China, and that shoes are the most common product subject to counterfeiting.
Designer brands, such as Salvatore Ferragamo have taken measures to avoid illegal online platforms forging ahead with selling fake Ferragamo goods, by inserting microchips and radio frequency identification tags into its shoes. However, it is expensive to guarantee product authenticity and facilitate the tracking of products, making it difficult for a global company like Nike to balance against the cost of Air Jordans, which retail for upwards of £70.