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Feds slam Chinese fakers (updated)

by David Zatz on

American companies doing business in China have run into widespread intellectual property theft, right down to entire factories (with signs) being duplicated. The problem shows no sign of abating; indeed, at least eight Chinese companies allegedly displayed their fakes at the SEMA auto-aftermarket show this week.

chinese

Omix-ADA, the largest independent maker of Jeep parts and accessories, recently got subpoenas against eight Chinese companies for copyright and trademark violations. Federal marshals raided two Chinese companies’ booths in the convention center yesterday; six others were raided at the nearby Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (Changzhou Jiulong Auto Lamps, Guangzhou Vcan Electronic Technology, Maxgrand Ltd., Sanmak Lighting, Shenzen Unisun Technology, and Unity 4wd Accessories.)

According to Quadratec’s blog, Omix-ADA’s head of marketing, Henk Van Dongen, Omix-ADA’s Director of Marketing, said,  ”Normally they have a hearing… but the judge took one look at the paperwork and said, ‘there is no denying this.’” The company worked with SEMA organizers to minimize any disruption.

chinese knockoff parts

The US Marshals quickly stopped the eight companies from interacting with show-goers, boxing up evidence — products and paperwork alike.  Van Dongen said the booth employees were mostly just surprised; others tried to hide their products.

Van Dongen said, ”It’s not just about Omix and Rugged Ridge, it’s something that is industry-wide and something that has been building up and becoming more and more rampant over the past two to three years.” He said the company is willing to work with competitors to fight counterfeits. “It’s a little like playing whack a mole, and hopefully if we whack them one time too many, then they won’t be coming back.” One problem is that it is nearly impossible to intercept the parts as they go through Customs.

Wednesday’s raid recovered numerous Omix-ADA knockoffs, along with those of other vendors, but the marshalls could only keep what was in the subpoenas.

Counterfeit products, often sold on Amazon, eBay, and similar sites,  can be dangerous, and not just for auto products: recent reports claim that 90% of Apple power supplies on Amazon are fakes, and take-aparts show them to be poorly designed and unsafe.  For car parts, a failure could easily lead to death. — via Matt Konkle, Quadratec.com

Update: Omix-ADA issued an official release, noting:

Omix-ADA worked hand-in-hand with show management teams to follow clear guidelines designed to help combat infringing product at the show, which was enhanced with the court order. Counterfeit product and copyright infringement is in direct violation of SEMA and AAPEX policies and the managing parties have taken appropriate action to remove violating exhibitors from the premises.

As a dedicated exhibitor, Omix-ADA would like to thank SEMA and AAPEX management for their help and cooperation in working with the company to help protect its patent and trademark rights, as well as the aftermarket customers. Omix-ADA is also pursuing litigation with several companies selling infringing product at various online retailers.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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