World news: November 2010
Bearings producers launch anti-counterfeiting campaign
The World Bearing Association (WBA) has launched a campaign to warn bearings purchasers and users about the potential hazards of counterfeit bearings. It has set up a dedicated Web site where visitors can find out about counterfeit bearings and what is being done to stop them. The WBA also plans to reach various audiences through e-mails, social media and Web banners.
The WBA says that during the last two decades, counterfeiting has grown substantially. It argues that while there has been much publicity given to counterfeits in music, film, home electronics and designer clothing, industrial counterfeiting of items such as tyres, seals and bearings poses a far greater risk. Many of these products are safety-critical and fake versions may pose real threats.
Counterfeiting also violates trademarks and, because counterfeits look like and are marketed as genuine branded products, it usually takes a trained expert to identify them.
“Our initiative is aimed at sensitising the public on the dangers associated with counterfeits,” says WBA president James Griffith. “The WBA is thus intensifying its anti-counterfeiting initiatives – that means information for customers on the one hand, and consistent prosecution of offenders through the competent authorities on the other.”
SKF President and CEO Tom Johnstone contends that the fight against counterfeiting is not only about protecting brands, “but is also about protecting our customers and the public from a potentially serious safety risk. Customers are being cheated into paying for a genuine product but are supplied with a fake alternative.
“Being a part of the World Bearing Association campaign,” he adds, “is a way to further reinforce our commitment to fight this illegal activity.”
The World Bearing Association is a non-profit industrial association founded in 2006 by three regional bearing associations: the American Bearing Manufacturers’ Association (ABMA), the Federation of European Bearing Manufacturers’ Association (FEBMA), and the Japan Bearing Industrial Association (JBIA). WBA promotes the common lawful interests of the world bearing industry, such as open economic engagement, sustainable development and the protection of legal rights of companies. Its supporters include Koyo, NSK, Schaeffler, SKF and Timken.
WBA has created an Anti-Counterfeiting Committee to address the counterfeiting of branded bearings and to assisting law enforcement agents in eradicating it. The Association and individual bearings companies are taking action and arranging campaigns to raise awareness about counterfeiting.