Birdies is a self-described “intimate apparel apothecary and swimwear boutique” located in Downtown Kansas City. They are well-known in the Kansas City arts district, co-hosting an annual fashion show that takes place on the street corner outside the boutique.
Owner Peregrine Honig got quite the surprise this week when two agents from the Department of Homeland Security showed up in her shop:
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“They came in and there were two guys” Honig said. “I asked one of them what size he needed and he showed me a badge and took me outside. They told me they were from Homeland Security and we were violating copyright laws.”
What? The Department of Homeland Security enforces copyright law violations? Indeed:
The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC) is a U.S. government center overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The NIPRCC coordinates the U.S. government’s enforcement of intellectual property laws.
Strange as it might seem, the same agency responsible for protecting citizens from real threats of terrorism is also responsible for confiscating a dozen pairs of custom-made panties.
They placed the underwear in an official Homeland Security bag and had Honig sign a statement saying she wouldn’t use the logo.
“We just thought it was something funny we could do,” Honig says of the panties. “But it was so scary.”
Lesson learned. Do NOT design your custom panties too closely to a trademarked logo or you too could be in line for a visit from DHS.
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