“What’s the big deal buying counterfeit products? They cost less, right? And, I save money!”
It may not seem like a big deal, but counterfeit products do more than hurt the vendor whose products are counterfeited. It cuts into partner profitability and erodes customer trust. We interviewed Dave Walters--Director of Global Business Operations at Cisco’s Worldwide Brand Protection--about the issue and to find out what customers and partners can do…and why counterfeiting doesn’t pay.
Read the extended interview:
Channels blog: Why is counterfeiting such an issue?
Dave Walters: Counterfeiting is big business and can be extremely profitable. Because of the large illicit profits associated with the counterfeit trade, counterfeiters are constantly modifying their techniques and approaches to deceive the public. As such, Cisco continues to adapt to fight this ever-changing illicit economy.
CB: Tell us a little bit about Cisco Brand Protection team, Dave.
DW: Cisco’s Brand Protection team of intellectual property experts works in cooperation with law enforcement and government agencies to combat the selling, distributing, and manufacturing of counterfeit products--and to protect our intellectual property rights. Our team also works to educate both partners and customers on the risks associated with purchasing networking equipment on the secondary market.
CB: There has been a lot of press lately about criminal cases involving counterfeit network hardware. Can you tell us a little bit more about the most recent headlines?
DW: On May 6, 2010, the United States Department of Justice and Homeland Security investigations were part of Operation Network Raider, which involved 30 felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco products worth an estimated retail value of more than USD $143 million.
CB: What kind of an effect does something like “Operation Network Raider” have on counterfeiters?
DW: The success achieved in the Network Raider enforcement actions reminds criminals who traffic in counterfeit that selling fake Cisco kits carries serious consequences.
CB: What are the implications for Cisco’s customers that purchase counterfeit products?
DW: When customers purchase Cisco equipment, they expect the highest quality. Genuine Cisco products are subject to stringent quality control checks to ensure compliance with high manufacturing standards; by contrast, there is no reason to believe that counterfeit products receive any quality testing. As a result, customers who have purchased counterfeit Cisco equipment may have customer satisfaction issues. All Cisco channel partners are required contractually to buy Cisco product via authorized channels. If for any reason a customer suspects that it may have purchased counterfeit Cisco products it should contact Cisco Brand Protection.
CB: What can a Cisco customers do to verify that they are buying authentic Cisco products?
DW: The best way to ensure that a customer is purchasing genuine Cisco gear is by purchasing through authorized sales channels.
CB: What would you say is the one key takeaway here for partners and customers?
DW: Network integrity begins at the source. When the equipment involved is mission critical, quality and authenticity should always be top of mind. Peace of mind comes from purchasing genuine products from authorized channels.
Please visit Cisco’s Brand Protection site for more information, or to report illegal or unauthorized products.