In the last two decades, counterfeiting in general has grown by 10,000 percent, globally. While there has been much reporting about consumers being taken advantage of by counterfeits in music, film, home electronics and designer clothing, a far greater risk lies in industrial counterfeiting of items such as tires, seals and bearings. All these products are safety-critical and fake versions pose a real threat. As a result, the World Bearing Association (WBA) has launched an awareness campaign to inform about safety hazards arising from counterfeit bearings. "Our initiative is aimed at sensitizing the public on the dangers associated with counterfeits," says James W.Griffith, WBA president and president and chief executive officer of The Timken Company. "The WBA is thus intensifying its anti-counterfeiting initiatives - that means information for customers on the one hand and consistent prosecution of offenders through the competent authorities on the other."
"Everyone who buys, sells, mounts and uses bearings can be adversely affected by counterfeits, so it is their best interest to be on the lookout for them," says Griffith. "Manufacturers of products containing industrial bearings may be held responsible for damages. We want purchasers to realize that counterfeiting is a widespread and serious problem." Counterfeiting also violates intellectual property, such as patents and trademarks. Because counterfeits look like and are marketed like genuine, premium-brand products, it usually takes a trained expert to identify them. The competent authorities and the concerned brand manufacturer may be contacted. Premium manufacturers invest continuously to develop their technology and improve the quality and value of their products. "When counterfeiters copy the look of industrial bearings and apply respected brand names that aren't theirs, they are infringing upon the rights of the manufacturer," concludes Griffith.