The value of counterfeit electronic components is estimated to total 2% of global sales, or USD 460 billion in 2011. It is estimated that the automotive industry loses USD 3 billion each year and that the semiconductor industry loses USD 75 billion each year.
Counterfieit electrical goods in second place
On a global scale, counterfeit electrical and electronic products occupy second place after pharmaceuticals. From components such as fuses, cables and circuit breakers to household equipment, professional work tools and automotive and aviation spare parts, nothing is safe from counterfeiting. While the appearance and packaging can be very convincing, the products themselves are often sub-standard and may represent a severe safety hazard, causing accidents and costing lives.
One fake component = huge financial liability
When counterfeit electrical devices, components and spare parts enter manufacturing supply chains, they can add fire, shock and explosion risks that may cost workers their lives, cause serious property damage and involve unpredictable financial liability. One fake component can void guarantees for entire systems and installations, resulting in severe financial losses and liabilities. Manufacturers, installers, specifiers and employers can be held responsible for incidents and accidents linked to counterfeit merchandise.
Improve inventory management and inspections
The infiltration of counterfeit parts into supply chains can often be avoided through improved inventory management, procurement procedures, and inspection protocols. In aviation, for example, the IECQ ECMP, the Electronic Component Management Plan, is a particularly successful tool that helps this industry to combat counterfeit electronic components.
Practical steps for beat counterfeits
Key components in fighting product piracy include protecting your assets legally and through technologies, stricter testing protocols and quality-control practices, and improved communication in the supply chain.
Here a few concrete measures that can be integrated into an anti-counterfeiting strategy:
- Register trademarks, copyrights, designs, apply for patent
- Join relevant industry associations
- Establish anti-counterfeiting policy, brand protection programme – training initiatives
- Apply relevant covert and overt anti-counterfeiting technologies
- Market surveillance, quality control, inspection
- Interception and cooperation with law enforcement
For more information please see the IEC brochure Piracy in electrical and electronic products: Anti-counterfeiting best practice and strategies here.