N.Y. upset by knockoffs of hot fire department logo
From Peter Viles
NEW YORK (CNN) -- In New York, it's more popular than any sportswear brand. It's the mayor's favorite logo, and one of the few you'll see the president wear.
But many of the T-shirts and caps being sold with the hot FDNY initials -- short for the Fire Department of New York -- are knockoffs, meaning not a penny goes to the fire department.
Amid the hundreds of funerals following the World Trade Center attacks, the fire department has been trying to manage and protect what is suddenly a multimillion-dollar brand.
"A lot of people didn't know that FDNY was a registered trademark," said Stephen Ruzow, an honorary fire commissioner who serves on the city's Board of Fire Safety Education Fund.
"It is owned by the Fire Department of New York and the city of New York."
To make that point, the department recently sent cease-and-desist letters warning dozens of small retailers to stop selling counterfeit goods.
Then it signed a new licensing agreement with a manufacturer, Matrix, which in turn is selling to Federated, parent of Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Burdine's. The estimated value of that deal is $20 million at retail.
One place where you can get the real stuff is Fire Zone inside Bloomingdale's, which is officially licensed by the fire department.
Before September 11, the department sold licensed goods only in the small store, and online at FDNY Firezone.org. Proceeds from the shirts, mugs, key chains and model fire engines, among other items, go to a fire safety education fund.
"It's not a percentage, it's not a dollar, or five dollars," said Anne Keating, senior vice president of Bloomingdale's. "It's the entire proceeds that go to the fire education funds."
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