Piracy and IPR abuses are a regular feature of this, and many other blogs, but this story is a rare classic of the genre.
According to a report in the International Herald Tribune, NEC of Japan became aware of pirated products in mid 2004. Detailed investigations found that a complex web of over 50 counterfeiters had set up what amounted to a parallel company that not only produced fake NEC products, but also produced lines of consumer electronics that the real NEC did not even make! The pirates, who seem to have been coordinated out of Taiwan, even carried fake NEC name cards.
Parallel sales structures operating secretly within companies are not uncommon, but an independent operation on this scale is certainly worthy of note. It remains to be seen how effectively these operations can be closed down by the authorities.
While the above story is a clear abuse of IPR, another interesting – if only a bit more subtle – example is noted by China Law Blog. In that case the OEM licensee for New Balance carried on producing shoes after the contract expired, but with a small difference – the New Balance “N” logo was replaced with a strangely similar “H” logo…
The good news is that enforcement is improving. Nevertheless, it is still true that prevention is better than cure, and that careful planning and constant monitoring are essential weapons in the IPR battle.
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A piracy fiasco embroils NEC in China
International Herald Tribune – France
… Like hundreds, if not thousands, of manufacturers now locked in a war of attrition with intellectual property thieves in China, the company hired an …