Today I received a press release from the Underwriters Laboratories alerting consumers and manufacturers to a counterfeit UL mark on an LED power supply. The release is pretty short, so I’ll include it here:
NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — UL is notifying manufacturers, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), consumers, retailers, and distributors that the LED Power Supply identified below bears a counterfeit UL Mark for the United States and Canada. This LED Power Supply has not been evaluated by UL to the appropriate Standards for Safety and it is unknown if it complies with the safety requirements for the United States or Canada.
Name of Product: Class 2 waterproof LED power supply, Model KSCFF1002400T1M2.
On the product: The product bears a counterfeit UL Mark and the following:
Class 2 waterproof LED power supply
Sold at: Known to be sold by Smarts Import & Export Co. Ltd., China and may have been sold at other locations.
If you have followed any anti-counterfeiting discussions on EBN, you’ll see there are a lot of different proposals for solving this problem. Rather than get into the merits of any of them, I can say they all have one thing in common: reporting known counterfeits. Whether you report it to your management, peers, customers, suppliers, a Website, a trade association, a government system, an NGO, or even Facebook or Twitter, flagging a counterfeit is a necessary part of every anti-counterfeiting solution.
This process is not without its problems: Many companies can’t send out a press release, aren’t members of a trade association, or aren’t familiar with sites that collect such reports. Sending out a release is no guarantee it will even get picked up. But even the smallest companies have a home page or Website. Post a notification on your site.
If you are a brand owner or sell branded products, let potential customers know there are counterfeits out there. It is one of the simplest steps you can take, and it may prevent a lot of hassle down the road. Counterfeit parts are bought and sold amongst companies in the electronics supply chain all the time. It happens. When it does, there is a lot of documentation, finger-pointing and rancor that follows.
If you have any doubt about this, take a look at the comments string in Where Are the VisionTech Parts? This concerns a single case that went to court. The investigation found that components sold by one company — VisionTech — affected more than 1,000 OEMs, EMS companies, distributors, and suppliers. Those are the ones we know about. I suspect there are others.
Thwarting counterfeits in the supply chain is an overwhelming task. But even the smallest thing — like notifying your customers and peers a bogus part is out there — contributes to the effort.