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I have already written several times about the fact that counterfeiting work clothing is a punishable offense. It also prohibited from wearing government agency clothing when not on the job. Here in the Netherlands, we have companies such as Frankenhuis that are specialized in the confidential destruction of textiles. But this does not completely prevent misuse…
The American website 24Hydrate sells dozens of shirts, hoodies, and face masks with the ministry of defense logos on them. Depicting, amongst others, the Dutch military police and the army.
After spotting these items, I immediately knew this is not ok. It’s not the first time that 24Hydrate has done this. At the end of 2020, I wrote an article (Dutch) about ambulance clothing that was copied and sold online. And yes, this was done by the same company. Ambulance Zorg Nederland contacted 24Hydrate and insisted the items be removed from their website and they were successful.
Misuse is doubly punishable
Even though the clothing is not an exact copy, according to lawyer Charlotte Meindersma, specialist in image law, it is still punishable.
”Here, two rules are being broken. First, you cannot just use a logo and you definitely cannot print the logo on clothing and sell it for commercial purposes. Second, you are dealing with deception. Using the logo can give the impression that the wearer is working for a specific body, in this case, the ministry of defense. You can imagine if people wearing these clothes storm the Binnenhof in The Hague, citizens might think they are government employees.”
Defense logos misused on clothing
After my findings, I contacted the ministry of defense to inform them of the misuse. Wouter Helders, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said that the organization was not aware of these items. Fortunately, the misuse of their logos does not happen very often. The Ministry of Defense is currently trying to figure out what steps they need to take to get the clothing removed from the website.
And 24Hydrate, if you happen to be reading this; I’ll be watching you.