OKLAHOMA CITY — The staff at Hi-Performance on N. May Ave. said they were surprised when agents came in the store on Wednesday and took all of its Thunder t-shirts.
“They just came in and kind of bum rushed us,” employee Chadd Hook said. “Six guys came, one was Homeland Security and his gun was exposed. The others said they were NBA officials. They said they were going to confiscate all our shirts now or sue us.”
The store allowed local artist to create their own Thunder inspired shirts and the store agreed to sell them.
Owner Jake Shelton said, “As a store owner who sells other sporting goods, I was careful to make sure we didn’t sell anything that had a logo, a trademarked image or players names or anything like that. So I was confused about why they were here.”
While they loaded up a stack of shirts Hook, said the agents gave him a letter that basically says the NBA owns all the images on the material they were selling including the word “Thunder” and the use of the “Thunder’s trademark blue and orange colors.”
Attorney David Slane is not representing them but said, “The federal law or (The Trademark Counterfeit Act of 1989 18-US-CA 2320) says you’re not allowed to counterfeit something or make an identical reproduction of it or something that is indistinguishable.”
“I don’t’ believe that the NBA and the these investigators would have had the right to seize any property of the shop keepers,” Slane said.
He said, “Federal agents do have the right to seize what they consider evidence of a crime.”
“There’s no reason for it. We’re not terrorists. We’re not criminals. We’re not doing anything wrong,”T-shirt seller Darren Huffer said. “Every Thunder fan that I’ve seen buy one of our shirts has been wearing a licensed Thunder shirt. They are spending money with them and us so were not hurting a multi-billion dollar corporation.”
We called the number on the letter given to the owner but we were not able to reach a representative as it was after business hours.