ST. HELENS, Ore. - So far as she knows, Pufferbelly Toys owner Stephanie Cox hasn't been passing any state secrets to sinister foreign governments, or violating obscure clauses in the Patriot Act.
So she was taken aback by a mysterious phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to her small store in this quiet Columbia River town just north of Portland.
"I was shaking in my shoes," Cox said of the September phone call. "My first thought was the government can shut your business down on a whim, in my opinion. If I'm closed even for a day that would cause undue stress."
When the two agents arrived at the store, the lead agent asked Cox whether she carried a toy called the Magic Cube, which he said was an illegal copy of the Rubik's Cube, one of the most popular toys of all time.
He told her to remove the Magic Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.
After the agents left, Cox called the manufacturer of the Magic Cube, the Toysmith Group, which is based in Auburn, Wash. A representative told her that Rubik's Cube patent had expired, and the Magic Cube did not infringe on the rival toy's trademark.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint filed in the agency's intellectual property rights center in Washington, D.C.
"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.
Six weeks after her brush with Homeland Security, Cox told The Oregonian she is still bewildered by the experience.
"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.
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things when they created the Homeland Security department. Bush! You promised! Looks like incompetence and bureaucracy is still as prevalent as ever.
Did you ever stop to think that if this is true to what has been retold thast the attorney general and governor would have been in the KNOW about the complaint before action was taken. Aren't they both very liberal tree huggers like your self. Arent they democrats? saee where i am goiung here?
Any luck with the DNA analysis request?
I got visited also by them.
Seems they found the carcass of a wart hog in a dumpster, about 30 miles from me.
So they visited me because Iam the only taxidermist within the airport area and Port area where ships come in.
They wanted to know if I was inporting frozen whole animals from Africa.
These guys are real dingbats, when I asked them if they knew what a whole frozen warthog cost to ship from africa, they just looked at me dumfounded, I gave them an answer by using shipping rates, about $2000 dollars to ship a 125 LBS frozen Item. I showed them what a wart hogg was worth salted and dry and asked them who would spend $2000 to sell it for $400 or $500 if that.
So I pointed them to 7 game ranches in Florida where people hunt warthogs and asked them how they know if it was a wart hog, did they do any DNA? They said no, the spca called us and told us it was.
So I showed them a wildboar manikin and they say yes it was just like that! A warthog.
I said no this is a florida wildboar not an African warthog.
So I asked them what was the national security doing about this, they said that they were interested in the importation of infected animals that can cause an outbreak of diseases, and terrorists might be involved.
So I told them to first go get some training in epidimiology and then they could do their Job.
And I showed them My diploma and State License as a Biologist, and they left pretty quick, no apology was ever issued for taking my time so stupidly.
Shame on them for doing their job. Glad you were there to educate them. We need more people like you willing to work with these people. Moron!
Forget about the last poster as they do not count if they are not real.My question is with your diploma and licence as a biologist how do you get into taxidermy? I find alot of the people with real names to be very talented on here and Im a little suprised to see that you chose one over the other?