US Customs have reportedly seized counterfeit sports merchandise worth US$20mil. Fake merch is of course a significant problem on this side of the Atlantic as well and underlines the crucial importance of protecting your brand (including a sports star's personal brand) with a portfolio of registered trade marks.
What's interesting about this story is the emphasis placed on consumer trust in "holographic marks". These holograms are technical anti-counterfeiting measures which traditionally have merely supplemented the protection provided by traditional registered trade marks. You would still need a traditional registered trade mark to be present on the goods or packaging to be able to stop the goods at customs or with a Court order. However, recent changes to the EU trade mark system may have opened the door to register the holograms themselves as trade marks in Europe.
The revised EU Trade Mark Regulation, which came into force last year, abolished the requirement that a trade mark needs to be "represented graphically" on the register. The new requirement is that the mark applied for is “capable of… being represented on the register in a manner which enables the competent authorities and the public to determine the clear and precise subject matter of the protection afforded to its proprietor”. This may make it easier for non-traditional trade marks, such as sounds, smells or holograms to be registered as EU trade marks.