REPORT A COUNTERFEIT

The ‘Genuine Is Best’ campaign has introduced a new feature that allows consumers to make an online report if they believe they have been sold a counterfeit part.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection supports the new reporting hub, which will help investigators detect and seize fake car components.

The online form, located at www.genuineisbest.com.au/report-a-counterfeit, enables consumers to submit details of parts they suspect may not be the genuine article.

This information will be provided to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) so that it may investigate any breaches of its intellectual property rights. The OEM will then submit a formal notification to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The Department is empowered under Federal legislation, specifically the Trade Marks Act 1995 or the Copyright Act 1968, to take action in respect of the alleged breach, which could include the seizure of the property. Erin Dale, Commander Customs Compliance in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, said more information would assist in curtailing the counterfeit issue.

“The Department works in partnership with the automotive industry to prevent counterfeit car parts from crossing the Australian border,” Commander Dale said.

“It enforces intellectual property rights through Australia’s Notice of Objection Scheme, which enables it to seize at the border importations of counterfeit and pirated goods. Each year we enforce over 600 Notices of Objection on behalf of brand owners.

During the 2015-16 financial year the Department seized more than 190,000 individual items of counterfeit and pirated goods worth about $17 million.

“Programs that allow the Australian public to report counterfeit goods to brand owners may draw attention to counterfeit goods, so brand owners are in a position to advise the Department of suspected imports of counterfeit goods,” Commander Dale said.

Recent international seizures have indicated the scope of the counterfeit parts problem, with raids in China and the Middle East unearthing massive volumes of sub-standard and often dangerous parts potentially headed for Australian shores.

“The more information the Department has on suspected counterfeit goods, the greater its ability to identify and intercept these goods,” Commander Dale said.

“With a Notice of Objection Scheme in place, the industry’s expertise will assist us to detect infringing goods at the border. We encourage the industry to refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, information such as details of known importers or shipments of goods.”

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive, Tony Weber, said he was pleased the new reporting function would place greater attention on dangerous automotive components.

“With the striker wire test outcome, we have seen just one more demonstration of how a non-genuine part presents a serious safety risk to consumers,” he said.

“By developing this online reporting capability,
we are empowering consumers and asking them to join us in our fight against the counterfeiters.

“Millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit car parts seized over the past 12 months in warehouses from China to the Middle East have demonstrated the scale of this issue. It’s an international trade that has been estimated to be worth US$20 billion a year.”

Mr Weber said that component testing undertaken by the FCAI had shown that the manufacturing processes counterfeiters are using are capable of creating parts that look up to the job. However, in circumstances where they need to perform and protect vehicle occupants, they are not fit for purpose and in many cases are downright dangerous.

“This is where we need the help of Australian vehicle owners. By taking an active role in uncovering these counterfeit components, panels and parts, consumers are not just protecting themselves and their fellow road users, but also working to assist the Australian Government in curbing their illegal importation and distribution,” he said.

Consumers who believe they have been sold a counterfeit car part can submit the details at www.genuineisbest.com.au/report-a-counterfeit.

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