the United States and avoiding U.S. Customs. To complete the ruse, Chanel put up $50,000, so that Randy K could induce others to invest in the undercover business. Soon shipments were coming into the United States through Miami. In the spring of 1993, U.S. Customs in Miami decided that they could not work on the case anymore, and Hrdy decided to shift the operation to U.S. Customs in New York. New York Customs agreed to assist for one year.
Operation Pipeline became a gigantic sting operation, with Chanel funding surveillance equipment, hotel rooms, and private investigators. After a year, the sting operation was still going strong, and Hrdy met with the Assistant Attorney in Newark, New Jersey to obtain additional assistance should New York Customs decide to drop out of the investigation. Hrdy would eventually contact several state senators, the Justice Department, and several state and federal law enforcement agencies to see what assistance could be obtained. When the seizure finally took place, U.S. Customs agents seized $27 million worth of South Koreanmade merchandise bearing over thirty trademarks, including Chanel, FILA, Guess?, Louis Vuitton, Reebok, and many others. Forty-three individuals were indicted.
Chanel's frustrating experience during Operation Pipeline is a reminder that enacting stronger legislation is insufficient; an effective intellectual property program requires adequate enforcement and public education.