Look For These And Other Exciting Officially Licensed Products At Your Nearest New York State Giftshop
[Heart] the brand, lest things get out of control:
Posted: May 12th, 2008 | Filed under: Everyone Is To Blame Here, New York, New York, It's A Wonderful Town!
This year, state officials plan to introduce new tools — like a difficult-to-reproduce hologram — that will assure consumers that a product is officially licensed by New York State.
For those who sell unofficial “I ♥ NY” products, officials plan to warn and then penalize offenders.
Thomas Ranese, 37, chief marketing officer at Empire State Development, admitted, “We haven’t always invested in protecting the brand as much as we should have.”
Trademarks were allowed to expire in the 1990s in the United States and abroad, leading to the widespread perception that the heart symbol was in the public domain and did not require a license, he said. The trademark registrations have been renewed, he said, but the damage had already been done.
New York State has lost millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars in licensing fees since the symbol was introduced in 1977, Mr. Ranese said.
The result, visible all over New York City but especially in Midtown Manhattan, is a vast alternate universe of “I ♥ NY” products, almost all of which are unlicensed fakes.
Is there any way for a public-spirited tourist to detect a fake? “The simple answer is no,” Mr. Ranese said. Even the registered trademark symbol is easily counterfeited, he said.
Still, the products are fun.
In need of something sartorial? There is a “I ♥ NY” men’s tie (with Statue of Liberty) for $4.99 and a Betty Boop “I ♥ NY” T-shirt for $19.99. Crave something culinary? There’s a dinner bell for $3.99, salt and pepper shakers for $8.99, a beer can holder for $4.99 and a dinner plate for $12.99. And a kitchen towel, $8.99, to clean up.
Need something for the children? There are teddy bears ($9.99 small, $19.99 large) and baby clothes for $9.99. Need authentic New York tchotchkes? There’s a computer mouse pad for $8.99, a thimble for $3.99, a glass paperweight for $14.99.
Feel the need for exercise? There is a baseball for $9.99, golf balls for $12.99, and a fur football for $9.99.
Only one of the above is an officially licensed product.