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Rising Up Against the World’s Counterfeiters

Aug. 6, 2019
Nearly all manufacturers have to contend with counterfeiters. Here’s how companies are stepping in to help them combat the criminals on the global market.

When it comes to fighting counterfeit component, part, and equipment makers, the electronics industry isn’t alone. Even the world’s luxury automakers have to be on their guard, ready to ward off the next counterfeiter who tries to pawn “copies” of their cars to unknowing consumers.

Last month, in fact, Ferrari found eight half-built supercars in a counterfeit car workshop in Brazil. According to UK publication Daily Star, the father-and-son operation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was producing fake Ferraris and lookalike Lamborghinis which were reportedly being sold for prices between 180,000 and 250,000 Brazilian Reals.

Police were unable to say how many cars had actually been sold by the fakers. The father and son who owned the workshop in the southern state of Santa Catarina were arrested on industrial property charges. The crime of violating intellectual property rights is a misdemeanor in Brazil, the publication reports.

It Doesn’t End There

In another auto-related counterfeiting incident, equipment stolen from Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ was used to make parts for the Russian market. Around 3,500 different automotive components were made using moulding tools and other equipment stolen from AvtoVAZ. 

“The company has raised concerns that the incidents could lead to an influx of counterfeit automotive components on the Russian automotive market,” Automotive Logistics reports. “There have been several successful attempts to steal equipment from AvtoVAZ plans over the past few years though it is now known how many illegal production capacities have been established using these machines.”

In addition, AvtoVAZ workers have allegedly been making manufacturing counterfeit parts for vehicles made by other carmakers. “Just a few weeks ago, at one AvtoVAZ workshop the security service found equipment used to produce parts for Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” the publication reports, noting that it’s unclear how long this “underground workshop” had been in operation and how many components it had released.

Stepping in to Help

Companies like M10TEK are coming out with new tools and/or upgraded tools to help automakers and other companies pinpoint and thwart counterfeiters. M10TEK has three patents it uses in a software product that helps companies prevent counterfeiting of their goods, according to Durango Herald.

M10TEK’s Verephied product provides users with a 98% assurance that their products are authentic and have not been compromised by counterfeiting, according to the publication, which says that the U.S. Army is using Verephied to provide assurance that products it receives are not cheaper, inferior, and possibly unsafe imitations.

“It is an especially important security requirement for the Army in its dealing with electronic components that must meet rigorous standards for robust performance in adverse weather conditions,” Durango Herald points out, adding that the authenticating data offered by Verephied can track a product from production to warehouse to distribution down to the individual retail outlet.

Putting Diamonds to Work

In another example of how companies are stepping in to help manufacturers combat counterfeiting, Dust Identity recently raised $10 million to expand its security business. The Hustle says the company uses tiny bits of diamond dust to help manufacturers secure their supply chains against counterfeiters, offering a solution to manufacturers that are struggling to control the quality of all the pieces that go into their products.

Dust Identity mixes tiny, ground-up diamond fragments into a polymer and then sprays the whole mixture onto physical objects such as airplane parts or computer components.

When these objects dry, these tiny diamond fragments form a unique configuration that can be scanned into a database and used to authenticate objects as they move along a supply chain,” The Hustle reports. “This surprisingly simple, physical solution is cheaper—and more foolproof—than other counterfeiting solutions such as holograph tags, RFID chips, or bar codes.”

About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.

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