Illegal brand name and product theft / Number of forged computer accessories has risen drastically / Economic losses in the billions / Countries of origin already known / TEAC is striving for investigations and criminal prosecutions.
Product piracy is the illegal imitation and copying of goods, for which the lawful manufacturer possesses patents, design rights and procedural rights. The brand name and product pirate adopts without permission the technical know-how, which a company has gained through long-term, laborious work employing huge amounts of financing. The fame of a brand name, which a brand name manufacturer has obtained as a result of the quality of its product, is misused and the consumer is deceived.
So much for the actual facts of the matter. Here are the figures: According to the Customs Criminal Office in Germany, the value of confiscated forged hardware and software grew within just one year from 19.4 to 30.9 million Euro.* In total, the damages caused worldwide by piracy are estimated by "Aktionskreis deutsche Wirtschaft gegen Produkt- und Markenpiraterie (APM)" [English: German Economy Working Party Against Product and Brand Name Piracy] to be 256 billion Euro. Approximately 8 per cent of all products traded all over the world may be forged. The German economy alone loses 28 billion Euro according to these estimates. Approximately 70,000 jobs are lost as a result of this.
In bordering areas of Poland and The Czech Republic, there are real "counterfeiters' markets".
But in Asian countries as well, such as: Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam which are the leaders among the imitators. In 2001, 29% of the counterfeit brand name items came from The Czech Republic and 19.4% from the Asian region.*
"The number of product forgeries has continuously increased in the last few years. Thailand, above all, belongs to the strongholds in the area of computer accessories, numerous forgeries are imported into the European Union every year", confirmed Leonhard Bierl, press spokesman of the Customs Criminal Office in Germany.
Now TEAC has also been affected. The world market leader for 3.5" disc drives is currently having to compete with product counterfeits of the "FD 235HF" floppy drives. The copies are always optically perfect. TEAC first became aware of this via complaints and returns of the goods. Upon precise checking of the products, several differences were ascertained. Now the issue is to clarify who brought the forged drives into circulation and how things stand legally.
"TEAC has already commenced investigations. We will stay on the track of the product pirates and treat the matter with the highest priority. TEAC stands for its good name, long years of experience, quality and tradition. We will therefore ensure that the product pirates are prosecuted. In addition, we will label our products more lavishly in future in order to prevent this form of white-collar crime", stated Michael Schweigart, Marketing and Sales Manager, Europe.
How to recognise the counterfeit floppy drives:
- The colour of the front panel is not identical to the original (a light grey instead of a beige tone)
- There is a TEAC logo in relief on the front panel. The original drives have no TEAC logo on the front panel.
- The rear side of the counterfeit exhibits a six-sided motor casing
- When looking into the connecting side of the device, TEAC stickers are visible – these are also forged
- The underside of the casing has fewer drilled holes
- There is no quality seal (CE) stamped into the upper side of the forgery
- On the upper side of the forgery, there is a green sticker – the original has a yellow sticker.
- The interior of the drive is very heavily soiled (dusty and sticky) and sloppily finished
- Simple lever mechanism visible
- Most of the counterfeits tested by TEAC were not functional!