MEMA Weighs in on Effort to Stop Sales of Counterfeit Motor Vehicle Parts

Date: July 31, 2019

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) responded to a call by the Department of Commerce to explore ways to prevent counterfeit motor parts from being sold in on-line markets.

Commerce is seeking information in order to respond to an April 2019 Presidential Memorandum titled “Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods.” That memorandum directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce and in consultation with other agencies and offices to prepare and submit a report to the President on the “State of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Trafficking and Recommendations.”  

In comments submitted July 29, MEMA argued that counterfeit part sales put both businesses and consumers at risk.

“Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is critical to the sustained success of the motor parts manufacturing industry,” MEMA wrote. “MEMA takes the issue of counterfeit motor parts and trademark theft very seriously. The theft of IPR leads to significant costs to suppliers. These costs include lost sales, damages to brand reputation, and significant legal and investigation expenditures.

“Genuine and legitimate parts are specifically designed for use on motors and meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, where applicable,” the letter states. “Counterfeit parts put consumers at risk when they do not perform as intended or fail, leading to brake failure, engine failure, vehicle fires or other catastrophic consequences.”

In the letter, MEMA also argued that online sales of counterfeit motor parts continue to rise as countries like China experience a major increase in e-commerce.

While counterfeit parts have been on ongoing focus for MEMA, the association pointed out that it has been working closely with online platforms to prevent counterfeit sales, though these relationships could be expanded. Possible additional steps to stem the problem could include requiring online marketplaces take on the role of product management, MEMA wrote.

“Under this scenario,” MEMA said, “manufacturers could share details about the product, such as where it is manufactured, the MSRP, and how and from where the product is shipped. The platform could use this data to further indicate to a consumer that the product is genuine.”

Finally, MEMA recommended a list of measures for brand owners and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to better collaborate and combat counterfeit sales. MEMA also suggested that online platforms meet additional requirements to do the same.

You can read the full letter here.

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