BUSNAGO, Italy – In 2009 Full Speed Ahead (FSA) launched an active program to pursue manufacturers and re-sellers of counterfeit FSA branded products. “Counterfeit parts originating in China pose a safety problem for the bicycle industry”, says Claudio Marra, General Manager of FSA Europe. “Such parts fail to meet industry quality standards, are untested and made of inferior materials.”
Tien Hsin Industries Co., Ltd., the Taiwan-based manufacturer of FSA branded products, noticed that certain bicycle retail stores in Taiwan were selling counterfeit FSA goods. Tien Hsin contracted private investigators that staked out the retailers, documented deliveries of counterfeit goods, followed the delivery trucks to the warehouses, and eventually to the manufacturers, and delivered complete documentation to Tien Hsin.
As a result of this campaign, retailers, re-sellers, and manufacturers were taken to court and convicted for trademark infringements. They either paid restitution, or were sentenced to jail for their illegal activities. Since that time, counterfeit copies of some FSA products have begun to find their way into the markets in Europe and the USA.
In the following months FSA Srl Europe made lists of counterfeit parts on e-Bay and web based retailers. Finally the Italian customs (La Guardia di Finanzia) conducted several well publicized raids on the premises of the sellers, and seized numerous counterfeit goods, including wheels, handlebars, stems, and seatposts. These sellers were prosecuted under trademark infringement laws and suffered serious financial penalties.
“Since the first counterfeit FSA components popped up on e-Bay we have registered our products with the e-Bay ‘Vero’ program”, says Claudio Marra. “Vero allows owners of trademarks or patents to protect their properties. The program allows enrolled members to simply email e-Bay with document of the counterfeit good listing found on the website and within a few hours eBay will remove the listings. Using the Vero program is an important tool, but requires a huge amount of time and vigilance on the part of the trademark owner to seek out the offending listings.”
“Like many of our co-manufacturers in the industry, we were surprised when the counterfeit parts in volume arrived on the market”, says Claudio Marra. “Now that this subject has raised its ugly head, we will do all that we can to stop the demand, production, and distribution of these parts.”
CAPTION: The Italian customs (La Guardia di Finanzia) conducted several raids on the premises of the sellers, and seized numerous counterfeit goods, including wheels, handlebars, stems, and seatposts.