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May 30, 2006

Audacious pirates completely assume a brand

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Here's a story on how a sophisticated ring of counterfeiters has "set up what amounted to a parallel NEC brand."

Evidence seized in raids on 18 factories and warehouses in China and Taiwan over the past year showed that the counterfeiters had set up what amounted to a parallel NEC brand with links to a network of more than 50 electronics factories in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In the name of NEC, the pirates copied NEC products and went as far as developing their own range of consumer electronic products - everything from home entertainment centres to MP3 players. They also co-ordinated manufacturing and distribution, collecting all the proceeds.
"These entities are part of a sophisticated ring, co-ordinated by two key entities based in Taiwan and Japan, which has attempted to completely assume the NEC brand," said Fujio Okada, the NEC senior vice-president and legal division general manager, in written answers to questions.

The scope of piracy continues to astound. And, to go back to a familiar topic of mine, the anti-IP activists continually try to paint piracy and counterfeiting as charming and admirable cottage industries in poor countries, allowing people their only shot at economic activity.

In fact, piracy and counterfeiting are much more similar to organized crime than to cottage industry.

The impact of piracy and counterfeiting on the developed economies of the world is almost certainly much more dramatic than previously thought, if it can happen on such as scope as this.

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