Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Counterfeit Concerns

Working in New York City, we PMY staffers are no strangers to counterfeit goods. The city sidewalks are awash with peddlers hawking copied wares. Not surprisingly, the problem doesn’t end with faux designer purses and perfumes: Counterfeit goods have become a real concern in the boating industry.

According to a recent article by Bill Klimas in Soundings Trade Only, imitation boating gear abounds and has become a serious problem for manufacturers and customers alike. Klimas cites the case of bilge pump manufacturer ITT Rule. The company found that nearly identical knock-offs of its 2,000-gph model pump were being made in China and sold to unsuspecting consumers in Australia. ITT ran tests of the counterfeit pumps and found that they ran for only 45 minutes before they stopped working. Conversely, three real ITT Rule pumps were tested and operated for more than 5,000 hours without incident.

Though the World Trade Organization is in charge of controlling this and other cases of trademark/Intellectual Property infringement, the question of how to regulate the influx of counterfeit goods is fraught with many political and bureaucratic issues. For the time being the best we consumers can do is work hard to educate ourselves and make sure the boating gear we’re buying is the real deal.

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