Counterfeiting – Fighting The Forgers!
Counterfeiting is one of the biggest threats facing companies producing and selling electrical and electronic goods and Sollatek is no exception. Insist on Genuine Sollatek Products.
Counterfeiting can be defined as the ‘illegal reproduction or imitation of products’. The reproduction or imitation can only be considered illegal if there is an infringement of an Intellectual Property Right (IPR).
Various forms of IPRs exist some of which are:
• A registered trademark
• A patent
• A copyright
• Where the appearance of a product is recognized as distinctive by the public – this is referred to in legal lingo as ‘passing off’
Where are they coming from
Counterfeit Sollatek products are mainly produced in China, which ironically is also where the original Sollatek products originate from. Counterfeiters choose China because of the country’s lax IPR laws and easy access to cheap component parts (due to its proximity to East Asian countries where these are made) and labour.
Although China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001, which requires it to comply with that body’s IPR laws, the reality is that counterfeiters continue to have a field day there.
Where are they selling
One of the main markets for counterfeit goods is Africa and general and East Africa in particular.
The low income of the populace in our part of the world means that counterfeiters get a ready market for their goods by undercutting the genuine article in price which they are able to afford to do because they are selling on the back of an established brand.
What can be done to fight counterfeiting?
The fight against counterfeiting is complex and must be undertaken at various levels as follows:
1. At the source where the counterfeit products are made
2. At any intermediary point to which they are imported to such as Dubai port which is a particularly popular transit point for Sollatek counterfeits from China to Africa
3. At the destination where they are sold to a largely unsuspecting consumer
What is Sollatek (Kenya) doing?
For Sollatek Kenya, we are of course, largely responsible for fighting the counterfeits in our backyards and local markets. We do so by working hand-in-hand with the local authorities responsible (Anti-Counterfeit Agency and the Police) to carry out seizures and implement court orders for destruction of counterfeit goods, and follow the court process to ensure offenders are fined.
We also devote a substantial part of our marketing plan and budget to educate the consumer about the existence of counterfeits and the potential hazards that accompany usage of such products. In the case of electrical and electronic products, the old adage ‘the lower the price, the lower the quality’ holds very true. Lower quality compromises both performance of the system, which the counterfeit product is a part of and also the safety of the user. Purchasing and using a counterfeit product could very likely turn out to be a very costly venture in the long run.