OKC Boutique 'Raided' By NBA Officials - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

OKC Boutique 'Raided' By NBA Officials

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Shelle Schaefer, owner of the French Cowgirl boutique, says she voluntarily surrendered merchandise she didn't know was against the rules. Shelle Schaefer, owner of the French Cowgirl boutique, says she voluntarily surrendered merchandise she didn't know was against the rules.

The NBA is cracking down on counterfeits merchandise across the metro, with several shops being raided by officials looking for retailers who aren't selling "official NBA" wear.

News 9 talked to the owner of a metro boutique that had much of its Thunder gear confiscated. That owner, Shelle Schaefer, says she's never even had a speeding ticket. But on Wednesday she says several NBA officials came to her store.

Schaefer says she voluntarily surrendered merchandise she didn't know was against the rules. And while she's not in big trouble, she says she's out of big money, Schaefer, who's a big the Thunder fan, says it was a big misunderstanding and says customers here in Oklahoma have been forgiving.

"We're all Thunder crazy! It was fun while it lasted," Schaefer said.

Schaefer fell in love with Oklahoma City 10 years ago and opened the French Cowgirl boutique at 4514 Western Ave.   

Visit the French Cowgirl Facebook page.  

Right away, she branded her boutique and got a trademark on ‘French Cowgirl'.

"I thought I understood it, but I'm the little guy," Schaefer said.

As soon as the Thunder came to town, she fell in love with the team and how it brought the community closer than ever before. Schaefer wanted to ‘Thunder Up' the shop in a unique way, ordering sparkly French Cowgirl style shirts designed and made locally.

"As quick as we could get them in, they were going out the door," she said.

Just as fast, NBA came knocking. Director of Marketing Communications with the NBA, Amanda Thorn says the NBA belongs to the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos. She says local NBA officials work with local law enforcement to make sure what you're buying is up to its standards and requirements.

Read more about CAPS.

"They explained they were with the NBA and our T-shirts were in violation of the trademark," Schaefer said.

Schaefer didn't want any trouble, and voluntarily handed over more than 50 T-shirts.

"They were very gracious. I told them I didn't know we were in violation because we weren't using the logo, or the players' names," Schaefer said.

The NBA gave Schaefer a document citing the problems and violations and said they would follow up with her. She says French Cowgirl just wanted to support the Thunder and thought she was going about it the right way.

"When I went online, I saw the Oklahoma City Thunder was the registered trademark."

She says she did not know that ‘OKC Thunder' is also an NBA licensed trademark, according to the writing on the document left by officials.

"They're protecting their business and I get that. Like I told them, I need to know the rules," explained Schaefer.

But now, Schaefer has been contacted by another man who says he owns the OKC trademark and will be stopping by her store.

She also got the opportunity to tell the NBA, OKC has some style and they should work with local shops like hers on designs.

6/12/2012 Related Story: How To Tell If Your Thunder Gear Is Legit?

"We know what customers want locally. [Maybe we could] partner with the NBA so this doesn't happen," she said.

Schaefer and the local designer are working on legal, pre-approved designs and hope to have them in stock by the time the Thunder if the Thunder force a game 6 back in Oklahoma City.

Officers will be out all through the finals looking for the fakes, and making sure shoppers get the real deal.

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