TecAlliance supporting government’s ‘Think before you Buy’ initiative
TecAlliance has been active in the fight against product piracy for years. Now, together with subsidiary oneIDentity+, it has established a solution in the fight against counterfeit products – an application that has also found use in other markets.
Product counterfeiting is often wrongly considered a victimless crime and, in the automotive sector, many consumers are not aware of the risks associated with ‘fake’ vehicle parts when it comes to traffic safety. Furthermore, this risk to consumers is accompanied by substantial economic damage. The Intellectual Property Office of the European Union estimates that the EU market for tyres and batteries alone suffers an annual loss of more than two billion euros through fake products.
“Although motorists want to save money and look for replacement parts themselves on the web and then ask their trusted workshops to install them, they are at risk of becoming the victims of fakes,” says Jürgen Buchert, managing director of TecAlliance GmbH.
Under the title ‘Think before you buy’, the British government has started an international awareness campaign together with car manufacturers, aftermarket players, industry associations and major online platforms. To elevate public awareness about the dangers of counterfeit vehicle spare parts, the firm behind global vehicle and spare parts database TecDoc Catalogue is now supporting this UK initiative.
This support builds upon the Manufacturers Against Product Piracy (MAPP) Initiative that TecAlliance introduced a decade ago. Through MAPP, automotive suppliers of leading brands have been working closely together, and to more quickly distinguish genuine from fake parts, many MAPP participants mark their original products with a data matrix barcode based on the coding recommendation worked out by European parts manufacturer association CLEPA.
With oneIDentity+, TecAlliance has now developed an IT solution for the automotive aftermarket so that these unique MAPP codes can be checked easily. Users can find out within seconds whether a replacement part is original and access detailed information about the product.
“We are proud to be part of this initiative, because fake parts are not just a problem for vehicle and parts manufacturers. The protection of the consumer and of intellectual property affects us all,” comments Dr Daniel Dünnebacke, chief operating officer of oneIDentity+.
oneIDentity+ is also responsible for the MAPP code’s global management. Based upon GS1 standards, the code has become an industry standard in the automotive aftermarket and clearly identifies each part from the factory. It is now also used in other industries.
MAPP codes are stored on the oneIDentity+ cloud platform, with the oneIDentity+ database already including over 1.8 billion product codes. The authenticity verification specialist receives more than 30,000 enquiries every month from around the world about products, machines and systems from a wide range of user groups including workshops, customs, service and logistics employees.
In addition to TecAlliance, other members of the UK government initiative include vehicle manufacturers Audi and BMW, as well as parts manufacturers NGK Spark Plugs, TMD Friction and Philips Automotive. Other supporters include industry associations such as the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), the Independent Garage Association (IGA) and of course, MAPP.