Post by Phil Wright, Director of Worldwide Brand ProtectionCounterfeit goods and used equipment have been the topic of two cover stories this summer. InformationWeek’s July 7 cover story titled Used Gear: Notes from the Underground provides an in-depth look at enterprise customer behaviors and concludes that purchasing used IT gear from unauthorized brokers is risky. This week’s CRN cover story titled Fakes: Can You Tell the Difference looks at the issue from the channel perspective. It cites the prevalence of IT counterfeit products globally (estimated at $100B annually), the origin of the manufacture for the suspect goods (often China), and how the counterfeit goods get mixed into the channel (typically through multiple intermediaries). This is not just a Cisco problem, but a widespread problem in the IT industry.Cisco takes this issue seriously. The Cisco Partner Central page (accessible to any Cisco customer or partner) includes information about gray market products and counterfeit equipment. Cisco’s message is clear: Buy only through authorized channels. For those customers that need a less expensive alternative to sourcing new product, consider Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment, which is available through authorized dealers. When products are purchased on the gray market, rather than through Cisco authorized distribution and resale channels, Cisco cannot guarantee the source and quality of those products. What about partners or customers that suspect that they have purchased counterfeit equipment? If you have questions or concerns, contact Brand Protection by email at email@example.com.