“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, according to Oscar Wilde. But businesses don’t tend to be so charitable in their interpretation of such actions. Indeed, industrial counterfeiting, copyright breaches and general contempt for intellectual property are all-too common. The most recent example of copyright dispute in the tyre industry saw one of the world’s largest and longest established tyremakers pitted against a relative unknown.
“Fake parts” have risen to become a multi-billion-pound problem affecting the safety and performance of vehicles in motorsport and on the road, according to European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) estimates. January’s Performance & Tuning Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC will hold a forum at which consumers can seek expert advice on this worrying trend.
Since the launch of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Crime and Enforcement Report 2018 -2019, the already high level of interest and concern on the subject of counterfeit replacement vehicle parts, has become even greater. The problem is complicated further by the increase in the number of customer supplied parts that independent workshops are being asked to fit and the difficulty they face in determining their origin. Amid this gloom there is however some light, as TecAlliance has developed a solution.
The rise of counterfeit car parts and the role of the IAAF in countering this threat for the benefit of the independent automotive aftermarket featured in the latest Annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report: 2018 to 2019.
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.
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. has reported the “successful completion” of its latest effort to eliminate counterfeit versions of its aluminium wheels in China. The distributor of these fake products has been sentenced to prison and also fined.
The BBC’s Fake Britain covered the dangers associated with buying part worn tyres on 1 December. Made with the support of Trading Standards and TyreSafe, the programme featured Georgina Gee, whose family car was fitted with four unroadworthy tyres by a part worn dealer.
The Fake Britain episode also showed the poor handling characteristics of non-compliant used tyres demonstrated on a test track and tyre assessments by TyreSafe’s tyre expert. It also gave a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a Trading Standards operation.
Ipsos Business Consulting, a leader in fact-based business consulting, has published new research highlighting the risks posed by counterfeiters in China’s fast-growing automotive parts market.
China’s automotive components sector is set to achieve annual growth of 20 per cent for the next five years driven by demand for new cars and a growing secondary market. The aftermarket segment will become the main outlet for automotive parts as the average age of vehicles on the road continues to rise and the current total car population has already surpassed 100 million. The counterfeit auto parts market, already the world’s largest with a current value of about US$40bn, will only increase as the overall market grows.
Western European manufacturers’ complaints that their products have been copied in the Far East are well reported. However, Shandong Yinbao Group is one of a select few Chinese tyre manufacturers that have suffered product piracy too.
According to international marketing manager Gavin Liu, the Shouguang-based Yinbao Group recently discovered that its growing off-the-road (OTR) product range was being copied, with the pirates making use of the company’s Goodtyre name: “We have found some faked tyres recently in the market copying the Goodtyre brand name of OTR products – which is both damaging and illegal.” Fighting back in a letter to customers, Yinbao representatives wrote: “Companies and people who undermine the interests of clients and reputation of our group will be investigated for legal responsibility according to law.”