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Fan maker busts Chinese counterfeiter

GERMANY: Fans and motors manufacturer EBM‑Papst has successfully pursued and broken up a Chinese company that was selling counterfeit and refurbished versions of its products.

EBM‑Papst received a complaint from a valued customer in March who had received 40 EBM‑Papst fans that appeared unusual compared to previous purchases. 

Investigations led the company through an intricate supply chain, ultimately tracing the source of this order to a trading company based in Shenzhen, China. This company had opted for an online storefront to distribute what seemed to be counterfeit EBM‑Papst fans, but the manufacturing company was still unclear.

Under the leadership of vice president of intellectual property Ralf Duckeck, the company enlisted the expertise of STU China to assist in uncovering the details behind this suspected counterfeit case.

The source of the counterfeits was eventually traced to a factory in Foshan, Guangdong.

A raid on the factory in early August, led by local government authorities and assisted by Chinese trademark rights enforcement organisation STU, discovered that the activities of the company involved included the purchase of original EBM‑Papst fans and the application of fraudulent labels, refurbishing second-hand EBM‑Papst fans as needed, and acquiring unused old-model EBM‑Papst fans for refurbishment. These were then sold as new original EBM‑Papst fans, frequently employing a blend of authentic and fake tactics.

As a result of this operation, government authorities on-site confiscated 149 fans and 260 labels. In addition, all of the counterfeit products and all income from the sale was confiscated and a fine of 20,000 RMB (€2,600) was imposed on the counterfeiters.

“Counterfeit products pose significant threats to both our business and our customers,” explained Ralf Duckeck. “They undermine our brand reputation and can potentially jeopardise the trust our customers place in us. Meanwhile, their subpar quality and performance can lead to immeasurable damage to our customers’ reputation and equipment safety.”

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