den, who was formerly with the Walt Disney Company, and Lee Sporn, in-house counsel for the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, decided to visit flea markets along the East Coast and talk to flea market owners about the counterfeiting problem. They found that many of the owners were proud of their flea market and wanted to maintain a good operation. A procedure was developed for involving the flea market owners in the fight against the counterfeiters.
The EAA uses three private investigative agencies that conduct sweeps of flea markets along the Eastern seaboard. Before conducting a sweep, the flea market owner is notified. Buys are made of any suspected counterfeits. If any vendor is discovered selling counterfeit products, the private investigator will return and deliver by hand a cease-and-desist letter. A copy of the cease-and-desist letter will be given to the flea market owner. No further action is taken--unless the vendor reappears or is found at another flea market. In this situation, the private investigator will return with a cease-and-desist letter and demand surrender of the counterfeits. The vendor's name will be entered into a database of known violators.
According to Ogden, who is chairman of the EAA, the flea market owners cooperate, and often evict the vendor, even if he is a first-time violator. The program began in Florida, which is a large tourist area and has hundreds of flea markets open year-round. Ogden reports that the EAA program has been very successful in Florida and in Georgia.
"There are a few uncooperative flea market owners," says Ogden. "In this case, we notify them that they can be held liable for any counterfeit merchandise under the Fonovisa ruling."
By the end of the 1990s, the industry programs, trade groups, and coalitions had done much to control the problem of street peddlers and flea market vendors, although the problem is widespread in the developing countries.