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Anti-Counterfeiting in Action

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.

    Identification:

    On the product: The product bears a counterfeit UL Mark and the following:

    Model KSCFF1002400T1M2

    Class 2 waterproof LED power supply

    E216698

    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.

13 comments on “Anti-Counterfeiting in Action

  1. _hm
    October 16, 2012

    This is a very good quick action. UL should also publish names of Amercian/Canadian local companies associated with it and punish them for this.

     

  2. Frank Cavallaro
    October 17, 2012

    I agree that the “exposure” of known counterfeit products is easier said than done. A multi-tier approach that includes this “exposure” along with more stringent screening methods and potentially DNA type marking technologies will help this important issue

  3. GraniteIC
    October 17, 2012

    Notifying customers of potential risk is critical. Failure to notify is “Knowingly” trafficking in counterfeits. 

    The government determined the risk level is high enough that the companies who purchased from Vision Tech and MVP need to know.  

    You can not rely on your ID supplier to willing pass that risk notification along. You must ask them specifically or they will not tell you.

    Every single “End User” should immediately send a written formal request for the information. Protect yourself from liability down the road.  Obtain a written response from all your open market suppliers. Request information on material sourced from the following: 

    Any material supplied by a source without a verifiable VAT or TAX ID and the following companies. 

    JFBK Inc AKA: New World Technologies Inc FKA: QFT Tech 

    JJ Electron ICS Inc. AKA: J J Electronics, J.J. Electronics, ShenJie, Square Bird Inc 

    J&W Technologies LLC AKA: JWT 

    Hongdark Electronic Trade Company AKA: Hong Dark Electronic Co., Hong Dark Electronic Trade Company , Hong Dark Electronics Co., Hong Dark Technology Co., Hong Xing Da Technology Co, Hongdark Technology Co., HongXing Da Technology Co., HongXingDa Technology Co, Shenzhen Hong Dark Electronics Co., Shenzhen HongDark Electronic Trade Company, Shenzhen Hongdark Electronics Co. 

    MVP Micro Inc – AKA: Chip Stop, Chipstop, Chipstop.net, Consulting Inc., BeBe Star Consulting Labra Electronics Inc. Labra inc., Becker Components Inc.Pentagon Components, Inc. 

    VisionTech Components – AKA: Vision Tech Components, Vision-Tech Components 

    The DOJ has issued statements they will go after End Users. You need your open market supplier's written response to show you did everything possible to identify potential risk. 

    All of the above companies have been identified by the US Government as Counterfeiters. Arrested, Convicted

  4. Taimoor Zubar
    October 17, 2012

    @Frank: I agree. Exposure is useless unless it's backed up by concrete actions to ensure there's some permanent damage done to the company involved in counterfeiting. And the damage has to go beyond financial punishments because it's pretty easy for companies to pay fine and get away with it.

  5. Taimoor Zubar
    October 17, 2012

    This is a very good quick action. UL should also publish names of Amercian/Canadian local companies associated with it and punish them for this.”

    @_hm: As far as I think, there would be more Chinese and other Asian companies involved in counterfeiting than American or Canadian companies. However, I'm unsure if any real action can be taken against these companies.

  6. Barbara Jorgensen
    October 17, 2012

    Thanks for the added backup, Frank! I was trying to think of a simple way to report this stuff and there really isn't. Information is so decentralized. A number of organizations have tried to centralize it, but we all know companies don't like to acknowledge they've been duped. Who does? Although posting on a website is largely CYA–in other words, you do what you can to alert your customers–it still has a limited impact.

  7. Barbara Jorgensen
    October 17, 2012

    Yes, it's interesting that the UL alert includes “authorities having jurisdiction,” but that's a pretty generic phrase. It also sems to me that the onus is on those authorities to follow up and prosecute. Maybe they do. I'll keep my eyes open for a follow-up.

  8. dalexander
    October 17, 2012

    @Barbara, Just as their are alert based srvices like EEContent.com and TPP for PLM issues like end of life and product change notices, do you expect we will see a 3rd party alert service for all industry sectored counterfeit notifications? The UL counterfeit is something that would be very difficult to pick up because the end user probably doesn't care because it is taken for granted. When I have ordered power supplies, I have specified “must have UL and CSA certs with labels attached to PS”. I never, ever called UL to see if the label was genuine. FYI, I have seen FCC labels faked too. By the way, this isn't really me writing.

  9. Barbara Jorgensen
    October 17, 2012

    Douglas (real or fake): I had an enlightening discussion with an industry source today. It turns out that the known options for reporting counterfeits, whether it is a Website; GiDEP, IDEA, ERAI, legal entity or something else, have a common problem. No one wants to admit they have purchased a counterfeit part. Not only is it embarrassing, but the consequences regarding customers, suppliers, distributors and other supply chain partners can lead to nasty things like distrust and lawsuits. Although there are mechanisms for reporting anonymously, there may be issues regarding backward traceabilty (if 'proving' a counterfeit comes to that.)

    I definitely understand the reluctance to admit a mistake and worse yet have your supply chain processes vetted. But my sense is, none of the remedies we talk about here will make one bit of difference unless organizations are willing to admit they made a mistake. As to third-party sites: I think that might be a good idea. Again, there would have to be safeguards and a lot of due diligence, but isn't that what third parties are supposed to do? If done correctly, it might also address the anonymity issue.

  10. _hm
    October 17, 2012

    @Taimoor: But majority of profit is taken away by local American or Canadain person. They should be held accountable.

     

  11. prabhakar_deosthali
    October 18, 2012

    It may be a good idea for the manufacturing companies who get suspected spurious parts on their production line, with supposedly fake certifications , to report such cases to the certifying agencies like UL, these companies would be able to spread word much quickly about these counterfeits in the user community

  12. DanMatis
    October 18, 2012

    People & Companies need to realize …

    IT'S OK TO ADMIT YOU MADE A MISTAKE

    or as my Dad used to say …

    We are all human and will make mistakes, but …

    It's NOT what happened .. IT'S WHAT YOU DO NEXT!

    We all learn from our experiences and that is how we will be able to combat the counterfeiters and traffickers of components. 

    If we can all learn from each other's mistakes AND HOW WE WERE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF, we can expose WHO & HOW components are being counterfeited and trafficked.

    We are currently working on building a site as Barbara dicussed that will allow ANYONE & EVERYONE to be able to post and view issues involving the people, companies, part numbers, and situations surrounding counterfeiters, trafficking of countefeit products, the prevention of getting counterfeit product and the techiques-procedures.

     

    THIS SITE WILL BE FREE

    AND

    ACCESSIBLE TO ANY USER WITH ACCESS TO THE INTERNET.

    We are currently looking for ideas and people who believe in this cause.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    If you have ideas on what you would like to see on this site

    OR

    You would like to be involved in the fight against counterfeiting …

     

    WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING IDEAS & RESUMES 

     

    PLEASE SEND YOUR IDEAS & RESUMES TO :

    Dan Matis at danm@ati-now.com

    We will be reviewing all emails and replying to all.

    We welcome all ideas, suggestions, and comments 

  13. itguyphil
    October 31, 2012

    Do they have the resources on their end to report counterfeiting on a widespread scale??

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