Probably like many of you, my household has done a lot more online shopping over the last year.  From parts for my Jeep to specialty baking equipment, the convenience and relative affordability was a critical necessity during the pandemic.

But the items that I ordered most were the many gadgets that allowed me to do more effective video conference meetings and event recordings from my home office. With the lighting, microphones, and even special background screens and side monitors for my Cisco Live presentation, I’ve created a mini production studio!

It’s from one of these purchases that I was reminded of a critical message I shared at Cisco Partner Summit. I was about to hit “Buy” for a name brand microphone when I noticed something was a bit off. Looking more closely, I realized this was not the true brand I thought it was and that it was being sold by a suspicious third party. Long story short, I went back to my search and bought the legitimate brand I wanted. It has since worked flawlessly.

My experience was trivial compared to what can happen to Cisco’s partners with gray market and counterfeit products which account for over $1 Billion in displaced sales annually. My promise to partners at Partner Summit was that we would continue to be aggressive on this – and we have been!

We have continued to work closely with law enforcement authorities around the world and captured tens of millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit gear which resulted in criminal lawsuits against the bad actors who were behind this. In the U.S. alone, our investigation into brokers selling counterfeit Cisco products led to settlement agreements that prevented further illicit trade.

And to further protect our certified partners, we’ve strengthened our already robust partner onboarding process with even more information around this important topic. For example, we created an informational onboarding video that partners are required to view before they are certified and a “Buy Right” notification that reminds partners of the most important aspects of our partner agreement. We also have useful tips for how to identify counterfeit and pirated products (something I could have used with my microphone purchase!)

We know you make significant investments to sell Cisco products to our customers. We want to do everything we can to ensure nothing gets in your way to success. Helping protect you and our customers from counterfeit products in the gray market is one important way we do this.

Want to learn more?
Take a look at the latest blog from Al Palladin, head of Cisco’s
Brand Protection.

Or go to our main Brand Protection site.



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Oliver Tuszik


Cisco EMEA