In today’s world, unfortunately almost every product – from shoes to luxury items, pharmaceuticals to electronics – is prone to counterfeiting. The sale of global counterfeit goods is estimated to be $250B a year, with the global IT industry alone representing an estimated $100B in revenue lost to counterfeiters annually.  Partners and customers who purchase Cisco products from authorized channels expect they are getting authentic Cisco gear. When counterfeiters attempt to cash in on that trust, the cost to our partners and distributors – potential lost revenue, downtime, and cost to replace fake goods with genuine product – can be significant.

As a former Cisco partner, I experienced first-hand the risk counterfeit and gray market can create, ranging from undercutting legitimate deals with impossibly low prices to compromising our customers’ IT with unreliable and unsupported fakes. Since joining Cisco, I have been lending my voice to and working across the business in an ongoing effort to empower, enable, and support our partner community to help them protect against counterfeit and gray market activities.

Cisco is tackling the issue in a number of ways.

Working with Industry

There is strength in numbers, which is why Cisco is an active member of organizations like the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. Taking a united approach to global Intellectual Property protection and combating product counterfeiting and piracy enables us to scale and amplify our efforts. Our Brand Protection team also collaborates with law enforcement and government agencies with boots-on-the-ground investigations to disrupt counterfeiting operations.

Building in Safeguards

Our safeguards to protect against the counterfeiting of Cisco products spans the entire lifecycle. We build advanced protective measures into our products starting with product design and development and continuing throughout the manufacturing process.

Empowering Partners to Protect Themselves

In addition to these built-in safeguards, we empower and enable Cisco partners, distributors, and customers with programs and tools to help identify counterfeit products and protect your investments.

Take the following steps to ensure you are using genuine Cisco products.

1. Only buy from authorized Cisco partners and distributors. Buying outside of authorized channels puts you and your investment at risk. Software licenses, warranties, and entitlements typically do not transfer; performance and quality cannot be guaranteed.Knowingly purchasing gray market Cisco gear has consequences, ranging from audits to expulsion from the program.

2. Always validate the integrity of Cisco devices before installation.

3. Contact us for a complimentary health check on your existing Cisco networking devices using just the serial number.

Cisco will continue to deliver innovations and programs to support you in these efforts. We ask that you join us in this ongoing effort to protect against counterfeit and gray market trade by taking these steps and using these tools.

You can learn about joint progress with officials in recent news.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be in possession of counterfeit Cisco hardware, report it to the Brand Protection office immediately.


To learn more about Cisco’s efforts,
check out our brand protection site.


We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a Question, Comment Below, and Stay Connected with #CiscoPartners on social!

Cisco Partners Facebook  |  @CiscoPartners Twitter  |  Cisco Partners LinkedIn


Oliver Tuszik


Cisco EMEA