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A Better Partnership

Ahead of the Curve Auto Supplier Blog

March 17, 2014

Watch Out, Suppliers! Counterfeiting Is Not Only For the Fashion Industry Anymore.

You may have heard of counterfeit purses, watches, and other designer products.  But counterfeit products have infiltrated industries well-beyond the fashion market.  Counterfeits can now be found in all industry sectors, from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to automotive.  The very nature of counterfeits makes them difficult to detect.  A consumer may drive to his or her local auto parts store, or with the click of a mouse online, unknowingly purchase counterfeit parts like brake pads, bearings or airbags.  Such products, while bearing the supplier’s trademark, are inferior in quality and may pose a risk to the public’s health and safety.  Counterfeits can also take a major financial toll on automotive suppliers.  In 1997, the Federal Trade Commission estimated that counterfeiting in automotive parts cost automotive suppliers $12 billion annually, including $3 billion annually in the United States alone.  Solving the counterfeit problem may seem like a daunting task for any single auto supplier.  But, if each supplier considers the following steps, such efforts may help to curb the counterfeiting epidemic plaguing our nation:  1.  Educate your employees on the value of your intellectual property and the goodwill associated with it; 2.  Meet with your local United States Attorney and let him or her know of the impact counterfeiting has on your business; 3.  If you find that counterfeit products are being distributed on the internet, notify the domain owner, website advertisers, and carriers; 4.  File a civil action to recoup the damages your business has suffered; 5.  Consider publishing positive enforcement actions or issuing a press release to inform the public that you value your intellectual property and will not tolerate counterfeiting; and 6.  Consider creating product labels using new technology that is difficult to replicate.

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