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Counterfeit Cisco Gear Showing Up In US

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the procurement-via-eBay dept.

182

spazimodo writes to point out a Network World report on the growing problem of counterfeit networking equipment. The article surveys the whole grey-market phenomenon, which is by no means limited to Cisco gear — they just happen to be its biggest target. From the article: "Thirty cards turned out to be counterfeit... Despite repeated calls and e-mails to his supplier, Atec Group, the issue was not resolved... How did a registered Cisco reseller (also a platinum Network Appliance partner and gold partner to Microsoft and Symantec) acquire the counterfeit [WAN interface cards] in the first place?... Phony network equipment [has] been quietly creeping into sales and distribution channels since early 2004... Counterfeit gear has become a big problem that could put networks — and health and safety — at risk. 'Nobody wants to say they've got counterfeit gear inside their enterprises that can all of a sudden stop working. But it's all over the place, just like pirated software is everywhere,' says Sharon Mills, director of IT procurement organization Caucus."

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182 comments

Just FUD? (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565338)

This all smells of FUD.

What he didn't know was that phoney network equipment had been quietly creeping into sales and distribution channels since early 2004, when manufacturers began seeing more returns, faster mean-time between failures and higher failure rates,

Isn't this the same period we have seen bad caps making equipment randomly fail, batteries which blow up, hard drives not being hard enough and dead pixel nightmares for all different companies?

Is it not more likely that this is just another symptom of too much, too quickly and they should just improve their quality control and testing regimes?

Sure, the cards might have been resold, but they are branded cisco items bearing the entire cisco interface and functionality - somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone other than cisco themselves.

The article manages to totally skip highlighting a single specific case of fake hardware, the nearest being a raid on a hardware repair centre where officials from a group of agencies pounced.

Reports in the San Francisco Chronicle made it appear at first like an immigration raid, as 12 illegal immigrants (11 from Mexico and one from Colombia) were taken away. But that wouldn't explain the presence of so many agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Service and the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, which investigates large-scale, high-tech piracy and counterfeit cases.

Just because a group of people from different departments turns up does not justify the argument, there could be any number of reasons.
If it was directly related to fake hardware, don't you think cisco would be highlighting the fact a little clearer than supposition?

They just want to scare people into paying top dollar from the top tier people.
I have no problem with this, but it seems like an underhanded way to say it.

Re:Just FUD? (4, Informative)

superskippy (772852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565418)

I work for an ISP in the UK, and we've bought fake Cisco interface cards in the past (although it was before I started working there), that we're labeled as genuine.

So this stuff definitely does exist.

Folex or illegal production? (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566522)

Did you examine or keep any of the fake ones around?

I'm really curious to see a "fake" one right next to an "authentic" Cisco part. Are they duplicates? Or just some other network card that they stamped a phoney Cisco logo on?

It would make a pretty big difference. In the latter case, they're nothing more than counterfeits, like the fake Rolexes that you can get from guys in Battery Park.

But if they're actual Cisco parts, being sold "unauthorized" (perhaps the factory they're outsourcing the assembly to decided to run an extra production shift or something, make a little money on the side), then the situation could be a lot different.

So which is it? A fake Rolex that actually has a $0.25 quartz movement inside? Or the real deal in terms of functionality and hardware, being made somehow without Cisco's approval and without going through their distribution chain?

Re:Folex or illegal production? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566754)

FUD? Naw, it sounds to me like a Chinese Govt scheme to infiltrate networks world wide with hacked BIOS chips.
They are in the best position to make counterfeits...and benefit from them.
Of course, since stupid governments are alike everywhere, they blew it in the quality-control dept.
So now we know.

Top Ten Fake Cisco Equipment Brand Names (1, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567132)

"Crisco": Trans fats, very bad!
"Frisco": Works okay, but seems a bit too... flamboyant
"Disco": Status lights all blink in hypnotic rhythm. Once you get really into it, it dies.

It should be EASY to track. (5, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565658)

These are physical items. It's not like software.

You buy them from a store. The store has to have them on hand or order them. Either way, since the store you're buying them from did not make them, shipment will be required.

So just keep following each shipment back until you find the company that manufactured the parts or the company that "cannot find their records".

There, problem solved.

Re:It should be EASY to track. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566080)

They are easy to track up to a point. I work for a large network equipment vendor who is constantly targeted by counterfeit equipment. Although we can track the origin up to a point, it usually ends up leading to some shady manufacturers or criminal enterprises. In one case I was involved in, some legitimate cards were sent from an authorized manufacturer out the "front door" but in the "back door" they were receiving counterfeit ones and shipping them along with the good ones. One time a truck was HIJACKED in Asia and the good cards were swapped with counterfeit ones and sold into the channel that way. Who hijacked the truck, who stood to profit (or how) and who made the fake cards we don't know, but when the customer received a bunch of them, they looked smelled and felt like real cards, they just didn't work. The OS didn't even recognize them and couldn't even load the drivers. Posting Anonymously for good reason.

Re:It should be EASY to track. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566232)

Uh Oh, abusive mod out on the loose today!!

Re:It should be EASY to track. (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566672)

Who hijacked the truck, who stood to profit (or how) and who made the fake cards we don't know, but when the customer received a bunch of them, they looked smelled and felt like real cards, they just didn't work. The OS didn't even recognize them and couldn't even load the drivers. Posting Anonymously for good reason.

That crime as described does not make sense. People that hijack a truck and take the contents will get in just as much trouble as people who hijack a truck and swap out the contents. Why even bother to swap out the contents with broken stuff? Would it not be easier and make more sense to just take what is in the truck and leave nothing behind? I know criminals are not that smart all of the time but they are much less likely to make the crime much harder on themselves then it has too be. Maybe it was an "inside" job by original seller and junk cards were in the truck the whole time and the hijack story was the excuse.

Agreed, that would be very weird. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566916)

I agree it doesn't make sense. Plus, when you load the truck up with fake goods, it means that the contents won't be written off as quickly as a loss and passed on to the insurance company, which if you're into cargo theft, is exactly what you want to happen. The faster the load is just written off, the sooner people forget about it.

A load of stuff that just gets stolen happens all the time; the police probably aren't even going to investigate it that hard. (If anything, they'll look hard at the driver, because the way cargo theft normally works is that somebody gets their hooks into the driver and 'encourages' him to park his truck somewhere and go eat lunch.) If you swap the stolen goods out for fakes, then the crime might take a little longer to uncover, but it's going to stay alive for significantly longer. It's an anomalous crime as well, meaning it'll attract more attention.

A bright blip on the radar screen which fades away fast, is far preferable to a dimmer blip that stays up there for longer.

I'm not saying it couldn't happen -- criminals sometimes do bizarre, illogical things (but usually only once) -- just that it seems really unlikely.

Re:Agreed, that would be very weird. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16567108)

I agree with you guys, this is just what we were told after the investigation.

Re:Just FUD? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565868)

somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone other than cisco themselves.

Or, the cheap chinese outsourced manufacturer. What stops them from running the production line a little extra and selling them on the side?

Re:Just FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565938)

Well when you offshore engineering and manufacturing these sorts of things happen. Same reason there are now Ford knock offs in China.

Corporate America did it to themselves!

Grey market != fakes (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565970)

A common FUD spread by authorised distributors is that buying from the grey market (legal, but through unauthorised channels), means you're buying substandard or fake products. Not so. Obviously, buying from the grey market does reduce your ability to get a refund etc if the product breaks or is a fake. Authorised sales channels clearly want to pump up the FUD to keep their margins up.

Fake products are getting more sophisticated all the time. I've even seen fake ICs. They looked fine, worked OK (most of the time), but if you xrayed the device you'd see that the actual silicon was different.

Re:Just FUD? (3, Informative)

Rice-Pudding (167484) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566044)

Sure, the cards might have been resold, but they are branded cisco items bearing the entire cisco interface and functionality - somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone other than cisco themselves.

Whether or not this is what happened in this particular case, I don't know. But in general, the issue is not that someone has taken the time to reverse-engineer a complete product and produce it again from the ground up. The "fake" hardware likely comes from any combination of several places:

  • Chip vendors often have huge inventories of chips that failed testing, but are otherwise marginally functional. Some of these chips could be branded and sold by an unscrupulous factory (hehe, that sounds funny :-) as legitimate parts. Or more likely, they can be sold to the guy in the next point:
  • Factories in 3rd-world or offshore countries (cheap labour) can and do produce legitimate hardware items for some of the big-name companies, of which Cisco is one. That is, they produce the legit hardware by day. After hours, or for a portion of the day, they can use the exact same process, exact same tooling, etc. to produce the knock-offs. These are then distributed through some other means.
  • Finally, the contract manufacturers (factories in the above point) will have many products that failed QA, but a marginally functional. These also can get sold as counterfeit gear. So the reverse-engineering is not so much the issue (although I am sure there is some degree of that). But as another poster mentioned, if you have the expertise to completely reverse-engineer something and reproduce it, you should go into business yourself selling a competing product that is much cheaper:-)

Re:Just FUD? (2, Interesting)

omgwtfroflbbqwasd (916042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566102)

somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone other than cisco themselves.
Well stop doubting, there is enough industrial espionage going on that this stuff does happen. Even companies like Cisco are not immune to it. I can tell you that Cisco is taking this stuff very seriously, to the extent that in the not-too-distant future, your Cisco software images will only run on hardware that contains an embedded digital certificate that is validated by the software image. This is a huge problem for Cisco's warranty/failure auditing department.

Offshoring (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566392)

Cisco offshores a lot of production over to China. This recently bit them in the butt when a company named Huawei stole their software and Cisco tried to sue them in China, but the Chinese Government, which backs Huawei, shut that lawsuit down.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cisco's current counterfeiting woes came from some other offshore producer that stole other facets of their IP.

I have little sympathy for Cisco; they think American workers are too expensive, and that American labor rules are too tough. Well then, let them go to China and get everything that comes along with their cheap labor. Including counterfeiters...

Overproduction? (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566764)

I've heard stories that a lot of the off-brand clothing and shoes that you can buy in Asia are actually produced in the same factories that make name-brand stuff. At the end of the day, after finishing a run of $US_BRAND, they'll bring in the third-shifters and run another production cycle and just not put the logos on. (And depending on who you ask, use lower quality raw materials, etc. etc.)

I wonder if the contract electronics assemblers are doing similar stuff? Seems like it would be pretty easy. If you're assembling network cards for Cisco, you know where all the parts are coming from, and how to put them together. Chances are, all the parts suppliers are also going to be Chinese; not too difficult to call them up and request an extra 1,000 widgets, and just pay for it out-of-pocket. Then you just keep assembling parts until the supplies are exhausted, package up whatever you've promised to deliver to the foreign company (Cisco), and sell the remainder to a local distributor who makes sure they disappear into basically untraceable Asian markets.

As foreign companies outsource more and more of not only the production and assembly, but also the supply-chain-management and procurement functions to "one stop shops," this becomes easier and easier. There are plenty of companies who would be happy to manufacture your widget for you, and handle all the parts sourcing -- allowing Western companies to avoid all the unpleasantness that sometimes involves. But that means there's very little way to verify whether the company is ordering more components than are actually needed to complete the run. In fact, it's nearly impossible -- without intimate knowledge of the part's defect rate and of manufacturing errors, you have no idea how many extra parts need to be ordered. Are they buying 5% more ICs than necessary because they know the factory tends to produce crummy ones (but is still the cheapest available), and are looking out for you? Or are they padding the order so they can overproduce and sell the excess on the side?

Like you, I have little sympathy for American companies who get bitten by this. If they wanted control over the manufacturing process, they could keep it here in the States. If counterfeiting is what happens when you outsource everything to a country with cheap labor and little respect for foreign intellectual property, you made your bed and now you can sleep in it.

It's all in the defect percentages, I bet (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567402)

I bet they're buying more ICs because they're declaring an inflated defect rate.

It's the easiest way to cover their tracks.

Re:Just FUD? (1)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567084)


Is it not more likely that this is just another symptom of too much, too quickly and they should just improve their quality control and testing regimes?

Sure, the cards might have been resold, but they are branded cisco items bearing the entire cisco interface and functionality - somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone other than cisco themselves.


I've been the unlucky recipient of counterfeit Cisco hardware, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that it does exist. In my case, it was a big batch of SFP GBICs which are supposed to be build to a standard specification so it's a bit easier than linecards. But in talking to our Cisco reps during the process, it was pretty clear that they are seeing more complicated devices showing up as counterfeits as well. It's a real problem, both for Cisco and for their customers because the fake stuff, at least in our case, is total crap compared to the real thing. We bought something like 150 of them, and had maybe 10% just plain DOA, so it was pretty obvious something was wrong. But if the reseller had been smart and only sold them two or three at a time it wouldn't be anywhere near as obvious.

Which isn't to say I have total sympathy for Cisco. After all, they've outsourced both the manufacturing and the selling to third parties. Cisco, by their own choice, doesn't actually own or operate their "channel". They just manage it. When you put voluntarily let all the knowledge needed to make, box, ship and sell "your" equipment leave your company, what exactly did you think was going to happen?

Re:Just FUD? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567398)

Everybody has a bad batch.
Its easier to blame it on something menacing like "counterfeit hardware", I would simply say "bad batch", however cisco has a reputation to uphold, horror of horrors if their tackle is broken.

Do I start to believe that everything fails because its counterfeit?

The packet of cig papers I bought with one having the gum on the wrong side must be fake, Rizla would never do that to us (actually, it was a bad box, some idiot put the paper roll on backwards and shock horror it wasn't picked up). The problem remained for the rest of the batch.

Sure, its a 20p packet of papers, but the principle is identical - companies fuck up and flakey products are released.

Re:Just FUD? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567126)

No FUD... Getting 30 GBIC interface modules in "original" packaging and then discovering that they all have the same serial number is a bit of a scare. More than that, they did not fit correctly (neither exterior nor SC fiber socket). Counterfeit stuff, and a lot of it. It is a very time consuming business to cope with cleaning up after you find out that the gear is junk.

Just the market working (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567258)

> Sure, the cards might have been resold, but they are branded cisco items bearing the entire cisco interface
> and functionality - somehow I doubt outright fake chipsets and devices like this can be produced by anyone
> other than cisco themselves.

Not really. A lot of Cisco cards are pretty simple products, off the shelf chips from 3rd party vendors with some common glue logic and some connectors. Some are more difficult, granted. Now consider Cisco doesn't actually manufacture much of anything. And finally consider that getting the complete files for the board and component list wouldn't cost much, just bribe an employee. Happens all the time.

The reason this is happening is that Cisco is trying to keep a closed market on an increasingly large segment of the the world's information infrastructure. They do it by requiring all equipment to be under service contract (or no updates or other support of any sort) and forbidding clone/generic add ons. This creates tremendous market pressure which someone is bound to find a way to satisfy. If you can't install a clone part, buy a really lowball 'genuine' one. Everyone with a clue knows what is happening but doesn't care as long as the customer can retain enough plausable deniability to avoid having service contracts voided if they get caught.

The marketplace has been ripe for cutting Cisco out of the loop now for a decade. Hopefully the new open source based routers will be able to get some high end interfaces available and end their dominance of routing. There really isn't much left that a 1U PC with some new PCI Express slots turned in such a way as to get several cards to slide in along the back of the box couldn't handle.

And I'd certainly rather configure with vi instead of Cisco's fudged up CLI.

Foakleys (1)

SuperStretch (1005515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565354)

Remeber those sunglasses and also Folexes? Fiksco equipment! I can't wait to see the hoboes in NYC selling these.

Work great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565374)

those Gears work nicely here. BTW first po$%&$&R/&A98908 NO CARRIER

If they can make something good enough for counter (5, Interesting)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565396)

If they can make something that people will think is good enough to be a Cisco product, they should go legit and sell cheaply. I mean it would be genius of them

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565544)

If they can make something that people will think is good enough to be a Cisco product, they should go legit and sell cheaply. I mean it would be genius of them

You miss the point : people who make counterfeit products pay peanuts to manufacture the fake goods, and sell them with a huge markup because the goods are branded with the logo of a company that makes expensive stuff. If they went legit and sold Cisco-compatible equipment under the SuperCrapola brand, instead of selling illegal Cisco-compatible equiment under the Cisco brand, they'd be a lot poorer.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (1)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565842)

But think of all the sells they could make, and they would be on the correct side of the law. A lot safer and probably survive longer.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (2, Insightful)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565986)

But they'd also have to create a support infrastructure, etc. Much easier to just create the knockoffs and sell them as the genuine article.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (2, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565914)

Another reason is that Cisco holds patents on parts of their routers, so a legit business would have to pay licensing fees to Cisco for every compatible router they sell.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (2, Funny)

wizzard2k (979669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566628)

Point aside, I'd hope they come up with a better brand name than SuperCrapola. Something just doesnt ring right. I dunno, maybe too many syllables? I'm not a marketing guru.

You're missing the point. (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567030)

It would've been fine had they being labeled as "compatible" or "clone" products. Duplicating (insert company name) logo's are at very least trade mark violation, not to mention willful misrepresentation of merchandise.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565964)

cough cough http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huawei#Cisco_Lawsuit [wikipedia.org] cough

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566114)

Going legit would require them to develope their own firmware and drivers rather then just making copies of Ciscos.

Re:If they can make something good enough for coun (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566900)

So you are suggesting that Cisco makes crap? It's not hard to copy a circuit board. The very problem is that the products aren't turning out to be as good because they fail or turn out to be flaky. And when they fail, Cisco's not going to replace them for you because they weren't legit Cisco products.

Photography gear (3, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565402)

The 'grey market' for cameras, lenses and other accessories is also huge, especially now with the wild proliferation of digital cameras, although it used to be smaller in scale in the days of film SLRs.

Even reputable shops like Adorama will sell you 'grey' prosumer Nikon digital SLRs for example. The difference is the lack of a US-actionable warranty and funky things like manuals in Turkish and whatnot... but other than that the gear is largely the same (be careful who you buy from anyway!). These things typically go for about 10% less than the 'straight' ones.

I've bought a couple of high-end Canon lenses this way and I haven't been burned yet, but I probably won't be doing it anymore. Too much risk.

Re:Photography gear (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565854)

As long as it is not sold as being made by someone who it wasn't made by, there's nothing wrong with that. If they can make a compatable lens, there is nothing to stop them from selling it, at whatever price they can get people to buy it for.

They just can't say they are Nikon/Canon and sell it.

Re:Photography gear (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566384)

These are not fakes. If you buy a gray market Nikon or Canon lens, and it has the name Nikon or Canon on it, it almost certainly is made by them. The difference is that it is packaged for a different country where they lower the price there to compete in that country's weaker economy. Additionally, the domestic arm of the parent company in each country is invested in by different investment groups that want to be the ones to make the money. This is why they call these things gray market instead of black market, because they really are non-fakes, but just diverted in their distribution.

Re:Photography gear (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566210)

The 'grey market' for cameras, lenses and other accessories is also huge ... I've bought a couple of high-end Canon lenses this way and I haven't been burned yet, but I probably won't be doing it anymore. Too much risk.

I disagree. Grey markey items are the same hardware that came off the same production line at Canon. Canon (like most companies) wants to maximize profit, so they charge more for the exact same product in a wealthy country (USA) than a poorer country (Poland). What stops a US retailer from going to Poland and buying 50 canon cameras? Nothing. Then they pass the savings on to you.

Reputable photo shops like Adorama and B&H Photo clearly label their grey-market goods and will honor the warranty themselves.

It's the scummy shops that pass off grey-market goods as regular, leaving you high & dry if you need warranty service.

Counterfit vs. Legit (5, Insightful)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565420)

My understanding is that a vendor is contracted to produce, say, 100,000 cards for Cisco. They make 100,000 and then another 100,000 more (say without the Cisco logo or whatever) and sell the extra ones on the pirate market. It's not like it's totally hacked together - this is gear off of the same production line. They may sub in some cheaper components.

Now would I knowingly use pirate gear in my production network? No. But when I was building a lab at home and needed 20 WIC-1Ts I was sure glad I could get them on eBay in bulk. Probably not legit but I wasn't planning on putting my home lab under Smartnet.

Re:Counterfit vs. Legit (2, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566138)

No, its more like then make 200,000 of which only 100,000 meet Ciscos qualty standards. The ones Cisco rejects get sold to a knock off company.

Re:Counterfit vs. Legit (1)

s4ck (895807) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566556)

this is not how it could work. this is exactly how it works. anybody who has ever worked at management level in a factory will be able to tell you so.

although the numbers are a little overblown for example purposes this is basically how it's done. there always someone somewhere in the factory that "liquidate" the faulty stuff. as long as it's not too faulty and unless when you sell it by the pound you get more money for it. but that's basically what the grey market is.

the whole thing about reverse enginering is total bs. it makes no economic sense. the return on the effort just makes no sense at all when the sub standards ready to be "get rid of" are all there for the taking.

Parent is right... posting anon for a reason (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16567168)


What the parent says
I run the robotics factory making building materials.
The stuff that dont make the national quality standards to get sold officialy, gets sold out of the back door to a handful of tame builders supliers in our city.

Posting AC for a reason :-)

BOFH (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565432)

A BOFH column for every need. Here, the Bastard has to deal with "Crisco" brand switches.

http://members.iinet.com.au/~bofh/newbofh/bofh3dec 97.html [iinet.com.au]

not quite as bad... (3, Informative)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565442)

This isn't as bad as when pirates pirated an entire company: NEC [iht.com] . Yeah, they had fake buildings, fake manufacturing facilities, fake executives, everything.

Re: not quite as bad... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565818)

> This isn't as bad as when pirates pirated an entire company: NEC. Yeah, they had fake buildings, fake manufacturing facilities, fake executives, everything.

Yeah, but all that was needed as the backdrop for the fake lunar landings.

Re:not quite as bad... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566184)

When I read this back in April I thought "nahhhhhhh can't be true"
I still think that.

Go onto the NEC site (which has shareholders and other things to account to, its not a private company) and find a reference to the problem or investigation or anything about it, its not there (not as far as I could see anyway).
We haven't heard anything more about it since the sensational reporting.

Additionally the rather vague article (its fleshy, but rather tasteless) reports on investigations in other cities, these cities come up on the main NEC site as ones with legit offices in.

Either the problem has magically vanished (as a paper problem only, a corporate memory lapse so to speak or just overzealous reporting) or its still occuring in which case I would expect NEC to have details about returning products or recall notices or other advertising that theres something fucked up.

Please find some more information than this whole problem because I don't like being intentionally wrong about things.

No ASIC counterfeits... yet. (2, Insightful)

slidersv (972720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565460)

Cisco derives it's power in HW mostly because of it's ASICs, so until somebody is able to counterfeit that, it's not that big of a deal.

Besides, how come the issue was not resolved? How about standard warranties? Did he loose the signed delivery protocol that listed all the WICs an their S/Ns?
The article is vague about that

Re:No ASIC counterfeits... yet. (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566218)

Many of the ASICs ARE pirated. Guess who manufactures the real stuff? Guess who has all the designs? Their friends start the pirate runs before they are even finished with the legit runs for Cisco.

Re:No ASIC counterfeits... yet. (1)

slidersv (972720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566940)

Guess who has all the designs?

Cisco RD Lab in SF?

Most Cisco hardware not ASIC accelerated (3, Informative)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567324)

You generally have to go above the 7000 series to get ASIC accelerated forwarding. As an example, the specifications of a Broadcom BCM1250 [broadcom.com] read remarkably like the specifications of a Cisco 7301, because that's what's inside one.
show ver
on the router shows the CPU model number, and
show controller <blah>
will show you the current register values, which you can then look up in the BCM1250 reference manual.

Well for a start (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565500)

Don't build stuff in China.

To be blunt Cisco and 3Com build stuff in china because it is cheap. The people that build the stuff can pick up a little extra money selling the gerbers , firmware, and document ion to the counterfeiters.

This is the price price for doing business in China and other very cheap countries.

What will really become expensive is when these companies can take what they have learned building stuff for Cisco and 3Com and then compete with them directly.

You can pay now or you can pay later.

Re:Well for a start (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565758)

"You can pay now or you can pay later."

Or you can find a country that, like China, does not overcharge high rip-off prices, but unlike China, has better enforcement on this. Then you neither pay now nor pay later.

Re:Well for a start (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566116)

India?

Cutting edge in offshoring (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567152)

Or you can find a country that, like China, does not overcharge high rip-off prices, but unlike China, has better enforcement on this. Then you neither pay now nor pay later.

In other news, North Pole granted accession to the WTO; attempts at elf unionization fail.

Like.... Huawei? (1)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566246)


Funny you should mention 3com though...

Huawei appears positioned to become a power in the world's networking industry -- except for one very large problem. On Jan. 23, after an eight-month investigation, Cisco launched a sweeping lawsuit against Huawei, alleging a host of intellectual-property violations and pushing for an injunction to remove certain Huawei products from the market. Huawei responds that the injunction Cisco seeks is unwarranted, and that it has already addressed Cisco's concerns. Still, the suit has derailed Huawei's expansion into the U.S. market. And it may have led Huawei to seek an alliance to bolster its presence and credibility in networking. A month after the suit, Huawei announced a global joint venture with Cisco's longtime rival, 3Com Corp. (COMS )

Re:Well for a start (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566526)

Don't build stuff in China. To be blunt Cisco and 3Com build stuff in china because it is cheap. The people that build the stuff can pick up a little extra money selling the gerbers , firmware, and document ion to the counterfeiters. This is the price price for doing business in China and other very cheap countries.


Yeah, I agree. Cisco and 3Com are trying to increase their profits. Lots of places manufacture abroad because it's cheaper. We pay less for the goods and the companies make more money. Everyone is happy. Sure, Americans lose their jobs but hey, I'm not all that nationalistic so whatever. Americans don't want to buy higher costing American made goods anyway.
All this already happened when I was a kid. But we hated Japan then.

Also, competition is good. It's great. Capitalism is based on free trade and competition. I'm tired of paying for fat bonuses for CEOs while workers get shit. If the Chinese will do it for almost nothing, fine by me. People anywhere will steal so that isn't my concern. From a consumer perspective, everything is cool. Just don't end up paying for one thing and getting sold something else. Check the manuals, register the equipment, all that. Keep the receipt. I really don't care about the corporate perspective so I'm done here.

The article is a non-story. I'll go along with the people calling it FUD.

Re:Well for a start (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566548)

A chinese company tried to do exactly that, and got shot down in flames. Cisco IOS and the hardware are covered by literally thousands of patents as well as copyright. Trying to compete with them using their own tech doesn't work because anywhere in the civilized world their IP will be protected and the knockoff goods will be seized after Cisco wins their injunctive relief.

Re:Well for a start (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566752)

Other people build routers besides Cisco. So it must be possible to build a router that doesn't use their patents. Notice I said learn from building Cisco's product. I didn't say rip off Cisco's product.

Don't be all that sure that IP laws will protect you forever when you train a monster. I am sure that GM and Ford thought that they never had to fear Honda.

I got a fake router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565504)

I should have realized that Sorny does not make Kinksys routers. Works great BTW, except for the firewall part and instead of NAT the router emits occasional swarms of gnats.

Re:I got a fake router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565682)

My Panonisonic CD system came doesn't seem to actually have a CD player. Instead, it has two odd flaps on the front. Oddly enough, though, one of them seems to support recording.

Looks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565538)

like it's time to go with open source routing! [techtarget.com]

Cheaper (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565604)


Ahhh now i can head over to ebay and build my cisco lab for half the price !!!!

I'm in no danger (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565660)

I know a genuine Sysco 4507 when I see one!

Do you have Sup40s in them? (1)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566126)

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/switches/ps 4324/ps4321/index.html [cisco.com]

Catalyst 4500 Series includes four chassis: Catalyst 4510R (10-slot: redundant Supervisor Engine capable), Catalyst 4507R (7-slot: redundant Supervisor Engine capable, Catalyst 4506 (6-slot), and Catalyst 4503 (3-slot).

Granted its a 4506 with two really small sups.

Re:I'm in no danger (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567238)

I've heard of Sysco [sysco.com] , but they don't have a 4507. [sysco.com]

The chocolate pizza [sysco.com] looks good, though.

Cisco RAM Trick (4, Interesting)

mahesh_gharat (633793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565666)

One of the Cisco vendor in my area used to replace the original RAM chips from new Cisco routers before shipping. They used to replace those RAM chips with made in taiwan RAM chips which were dirt cheap (1/5th or lesser in price). Then this vendor used to sell those original RAM chips, that they earlier removed from Cisco routers to other customers at higher rate. PROFIT.

How do I know this?
The guy who use to work there, was my college mate during my Computer Science graduation days. You can still find all of us drinking beers on Weekends at near by joint. ;-)

Counterfeit vs grey imports (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565672)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the summary talks of grey-markets; are these the same grey markets that were thought of as great until Sony shut down Lik-Sang and are now thought of as bad because of some Cisco gear going wrong?

Or did I just misread the summary?

Re: Counterfeit vs grey imports (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565866)

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but the summary talks of grey-markets; are these the same grey markets that were thought of as great until Sony shut down Lik-Sang and are now thought of as bad because of some Cisco gear going wrong?

Whatcha gonna do when you wake up one morning and discover that your company or whole national infrastructure is pwned by someone who has been putting backdoors in their greyware?

Re: Counterfeit vs grey imports (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566030)

That was the same argument Sony gave with regard to their stuff: "What you going to do when your hands get burnt playing a Japanese PSP in Europe?". We poo-poo'ed the idea in an earlier thread.

I'm not trying to troll here; I simply found it amusing that there was two different grey import stories in one day, each treated very differently.

In fact, I wasn't even doing that; my original post asked if this was the same sort of situation as before. The summary didn't make it clear.

Re:Counterfeit vs grey imports (1)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566170)

The mention of grey-market is a bit confusing. In the usual sense, a grey-market item is produced by the manufacturer, but is simply allocated/marketed for an item other than the one you're in. US Photographers are very familiar with this, as they can buy grey-market cameras and lenses for much less than they would spend for the 'USA' items. These are genuine items, but simply don't have a US-valid warranty.

Now, it's probably easier for a counterfeit product to come in via the grey-market route, but just because it's grey doesn't mean it's a fake.

Re:Counterfeit vs grey imports (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567124)

No actually it is (or at least was) the other way arround, the US Photographers could buy Japanese cameras in the US cheaper than the japanese could in Japan, and we didn't call it grey-market we called it dumping.

Re:Counterfeit vs grey imports (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567214)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the summary talks of grey-markets; are these the same grey markets that were thought of as great until Sony shut down Lik-Sang and are now thought of as bad because of some Cisco gear going wrong?
Heheh, superb point, I was just about to post same. I'm surprised you didn't get modded out of view. It's exactly the same problem as what might have been faced by Sony, the import of trademarked goods that for all we know come from some two-bit factory in Shenzhen. OK, so in the PSP's case, it must be very hard to make a dupe unit... it probably wouldn't happen... but then, who thought it would happen with Cisco kit?

Two very revealing responses by the /. crowd there - on the one hand, we like cheap PSPs (although it's Sony, so we boycott them) & on the other hand, we don't want dud Cisco kit! That is what the trademark was invented for. It's the good bit of IP law.

Radio Shack (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565760)

This reminds me why people said not to buy anything at Radio Shack! Parts did not make manufacturer's specs and were packaged for Radio Shack!

Their televisions were reboxed Motorola's and the only thing worth their price!

not just FUD - shortcuts by sub-sub contractors (4, Interesting)

caesar-auf-nihil (513828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565764)

I'm not surprised by this - I'm seeing it more often with supposedly fire safe parts with the "UL" tag on them. Since so many electronic parts/appliances now have such very tight profit margins, the following happens:

Primary original equipment manufacturer (OEM) subcontracts out to a cheaper source to make some profit on the part.
Secondary part supplier, also hit with tight margins, subcontracts to local supplier/small business to make the part.
Tertiary part manufacturer, also hit with tight margins but glad to have the business uses off-spec parts, or in the case of flame retardant rated plastics, dilutes the specified plastic with non-flame retarded plastic to get the parts made on time, and cheaply.

There has been an increase in the parts that have UL tags "failing" random pulled fire tests that UL makes by going into stores and randomly pulling consumer goods off the shelves. So I'm not surprised that this is happening in other areas as well when all sorts of quality control go out the window since the OEM can't directly supervise the secondary and tertiary suppliers, and they won't know the part is off-spec until they get the failed test. Once the tertiary vendor has made the part once, they usually have all the molds and other expensive equipment to start making knock-offs, especially in areas with poor law enforcement.

Re:not just FUD - shortcuts by sub-sub contractors (2, Interesting)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566250)

And each of those suppliers along the way is happy to slap whatever label or certification text on it.

A member of a car club I'm in was on business in China, and found a company that made various pins and badges. He showed them one of the club's grille badges to see if he could make them. The guy looked at it, and then asked our club member if he wanted the same stuff that was on the back of the original. Unsure of what he meant, he looked at the badge, and the guy pointed to the 'Made in UK' stamped on it.

Don't say I didn't warn you (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565776)

If we'd spent all that money researching telepathy instead of electronics, we wouldn't be in this position.

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you (3, Funny)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566000)

Hey, that was my thought!

The real fear here ... (2, Insightful)

querist (97166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565806)

I know that this may sound a little too "tinfoil hat", but the thing that scares me the most about this is the potential for backdoors, spyware, and other nefarious modifications in this grey market hardware. Where would you detect the spying? This is potentially A Bad Thing(tm).

Yes, I know that so far no-one has found anything like that, but the potential creeps me out. One of the reasons people buy Cisco gear is because they trust the company. Counterfeit goods weaken the brand value and in and of themselves generate FUD.

Let's take a slightly easier (and fanciful) example: fake Rolex watches. OK, everyone knows that there are fake Rolex watches out there. But let us pretend for a moment that you did not know about the fakes, and you bought a "Rolex" (in quotes to indicate a fake) watch. The thing keeps lousy time, losing 5 minutes a day, and the wind stem breaks off in a month. You walk away from that experience thinking that Rolex (note: no quotes) watches are trash.

People are far more likely to complain than to praise, and when they're ripped off they are far more likely to tell people about it than when something works as expected, therefore the damage is done not only in your mind but in the minds of people who trust you. Suddenly, many people think that Rolex watches are junk.

Again, a fanciful example because Rolex's reputation is well established to the point that if a "Rolex" were to fail most people would suspect a fake. But the point is that the damage can occur to the brand as well. I can see Cisco trying to fight this one quite vigorously to protect their reputation.

The damage has been done. The only thing now is to minimize the results.

Re:The real fear here ... (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567094)

I know that this may sound a little too "tinfoil hat", but the thing that scares me the most about this is the potential for backdoors, spyware, and other nefarious modifications in this grey market hardware. Where would you detect the spying? This is potentially A Bad Thing(tm). Yes, I know that so far no-one has found anything like that, but the potential creeps me out. One of the reasons people buy Cisco gear is because they trust the company. Counterfeit goods weaken the brand value and in and of themselves generate FUD.

Actually, weren't there reports of US intelligence pulling just this kind of thing in the first gulf war? They'd sold Iraq some printers that were supposed to glitch Iraqi computers when at a set time or when given a certain signal. Though my recollection is that it didn't work-- likely because the command and control (not to mention the power grid) was already off line due to big bombs landing on top of them.

Who are you trusting and why? (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567368)

One of the reasons people buy Cisco gear is because they trust the company.

Sounds like a really good argument why you should never just blindly trust someone because of a brand name.

If you don't know who's code is actually running on your firewall/router/whatever, and I don't mean "what code is running on that model device, according to the manual," I mean your firewall, that actual metal box in the closet, then you are assuming a certain amount of risk. Any time you blindly swallow what some company that you bought something from tells you, remember that they have a financial motive to make you believe that their farts smell like roses. Some may be more blatant than others, but their goals are not the same as yours, even if they do coincide in certain areas.

By the time you get your hands on a piece of hardware, it's passed through dozens (if not hundreds) of carriers, middlemen, distributors, wholesalers, and the like. You are trusting every one of them to not have messed with it, in ways ranging from an actively hostile backdoor, to petty thievery like the RAM theft that someone discusses further up in the thread. There are some pretty good arguments for using the simplest hardware possible and then loading software yourself. It's still not totally devoid of risk (and with software you get into the whole thing about compiler compromises), but it limits the number of hands the code passes through.

The amount of trust that people put blindly in others is simply astounding. Sometimes it's for good reason, but other times it boils down to calculated laziness. Maybe that calculation needs to be revised a little.

It's apparently a life-threatening problem! (5, Funny)

rickkas7 (983760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565844)

FTA: "What if it wasn't a bank subnet that went offline because of a faulty card in the router? What if it were an air-traffic control network instead?" van de Gohm asks. "This is no different than counterfeit medicine in the pharmaceutical industry. And it's potentially just as life-threatening."

If the air traffic control system can go down because of a single faulty card in a router, fake or not, I'm thinking I want to avoid planes, and look up a lot more than I do now.

Only Buy Genuine Cheesco and 3Corn Gear! (0, Offtopic)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565906)

Cheesco makes great networking equipment, and so does 3Corn. We use MircoSoft Windows OS, and it's never let us down! I mean, Linux is good for servers and all, in fact, I only use RedCap. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Sorny DVDs I want to watch on my MagnetBox TV.

Working to stop global warming! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16565960)

Yaay, pirates!

Its not like Cisco has a manufacturing plant... (3, Interesting)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566034)

They send thier chipsets and engineering specs to an outside company (flextronics) just like all the other vendors. I imagine that with ISO9001 certifcation making every detail of label placement and branding a documented aspect of the manufacturing process, the details on how to build a card can fit on a USB drive, and be sent to taiwan or china for the incredible markup Cisco enjoys. I would further assume that the failure rate off the assembly line is about the same as the real production runs, its just a matter of who is going to bother QAing parts that are conterfeit.

For that matter the cards that don't meet vendor QA are a likely source of these counterfeits.

Keep in mind, the markup on flash and dram memory that is essentially identical to off the shelf memory is intense, and back when I cared about how much the crap cost, I would skimp on the gen-u-wine cisco memory or pix interface cards myself. I wouldn't want to buy a conterfeit DS3 blade though...

The scary thought is that if Chineese plants are going to slap together a counterfeit router, how hard would it be to add wiretap capability. THE YELLOW IT PERIL!!!

Blame Odo.... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566050)

...if there's a counterfeit Sisko kicking around, it's bound to be one of those pesky shapechangers.

[PLEASE INSERT ADDITIONAL STAR TREK JOKES BENEATH HERE]

Knockoff gear (1)

vision864 (712184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566068)

So what kind of price break are we talking here? is this like 10bucks off genuine or are we talking some hard dollars here?

False Confidence In Non-Counterfeit (5, Insightful)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566086)

"Nobody wants to say they've got counterfeit gear inside their enterprises that can all of a sudden stop working."

That sentence reads the same if you remove "counterfeit". Hardware and software that can all of a sudden stop working is a fact of life, regardless of manufacturer.

The use of logos to indicate that a piece of hardware is genuinely from another company when it is not is unethical and should be stopped, but this argument is simply a scare tactic attempting to disguise the real interest, which is that of the manufacturer whose logo is on the product and is angry they did not derive any revenue from the sale. Otherwise, they could care less. From a consumer standpoint, safety is found in redundancy and contingency planning, not trusting that the logo of any one manufacturer on an item means it will not suddenly stop working. I do not blame the manufacturer for wanting in on the sale, but tell it straight, don't childishly trot out the bogeyman to get sympathy,.

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566702)

FUD patrol on call.

Counterfeit (1)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566108)

Counterfeit Equiptment could also have backdoors, to which certain people or countries could control and relay private data for bad purposes, including spying, identity theft, and many other things. I think Cisco Equiptment should have hardware signatures and checksums to keep fraudulent equiptment from being used. Kinda like Lexmark did with thier toners, although it was a bad idea for consumer in that case, I think it would be helpful in this one.

Got it backwards (1)

slowbad (714725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566122)

A couple of years ago, $59 blue Linksys routers began showing up with Cisco firmware and $49 price tags. Just running a Windows tracert.exe from the XP command line instantly rebooted ALL these questionable routers.

Wal-Mart customers aren't too good at upgrading their firmware, it seems, and you still run into some unencrypted hotspots where non-admins without physical access eat these blue-box-specials lunch.

Stop working? (1)

Beetjebrak (545819) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566162)

So umm.. Cisco gear couldn't all of a sudden stop working? Cisco stuff breaks down just like stuff from Sweex, Trust and other dubious brands. Cisco stuff is generally faster, has more features and breaks down less often and costs ten times more.. but every system breaks down eventually. The second law of thermodynamics really is a bitch. ;-)

How about some fake firmware? (1)

tmh - The Mad Hacker (962953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566286)

> Nobody wants to say they've got counterfeit gear inside
> their enterprises that can all of a sudden stop working.

To bad it's hardware, and not router firmware that's "counterfeit" -- If it was truly different and not an exact duplicate, your fake equipment might be the only stuff working after a good attack! :-)

Who makes gear anyway? (1)

ahmed_a (241016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566420)

Just a thought, but the off shore fabs that make the gear could just as well sell the stuff unbranded. The issue might be less about "fake" and more about poor supplier control.

RATS!!! (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566474)

i thought that buying routers from a jamaican guy in times square would be a great way to shave a few thousand from the budget and earn some points with the PHB. the rastaman told me that all the cisco reps use blankets to display thier gear, and that they routinely throw in a bag of weed with every catalyst.

This is what happends when you out source (1)

tranceyboy (1016910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566678)

This is what happens when you outsouce you stuff to developing countries, they have all your details and proprietary information, and you have no real control of who works there. I have seen fake chinese Ipods, my sister bought one. What waas funny is that this thing was exaclt alike. When you outsource you products for the sace of cheap labor... Well you get what you paid for. Unreliable security for your secrets, allowing others to replicate it. Just imagine if The USA outsourced it's money printing to Korea? WOW!!! Oh thats where the presses to print the money is made... No wonder!!

RTFA: USA is second major origin of counterfeits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16567394)

4th page of TFA:
According to the AGMA study, the United States is the second major point of origin for counterfeit goods - California, in particular, say Rauhauser and Dana Andrews, owner of Digitial Surplus in Boston. They point to the port of Los Angeles as a big dumping ground for Chinese counterfeit parts and to Silicon Valley as a place of production.

pluS 3, Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566850)

UGH (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567170)

Between the summary talking about grey-market and a bunch of you not having a clue.....

They seem to be talking about actual counterfeits, they may be entering the market via grey-market channels and getting mixed back in with the regular and/or real grey-market stuff.

What little meat there was seemed to say there were cisco cards that had the wrong chip or something that was diferent. That and don't buy cisco cards from a dude in china...duh

Manufacturers need to track locations of serial #s (1)

vly3 (137212) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567180)

Manufacturers could track the locations of product serial numbers through production and distribution and out to the retail outlets. Duplicate serial numbers in disparate locations would get flagged as counterfeit. Consumers should have a way to look up the serial number of a product before they buy it, and verify that it is at the retail location where it is supposed to be, and that it hasn't been flagged counterfeit. Companies could cost effectively defeat counterfeiting of their products this way and consumers would know they are buying the real thing. I wrote a paper which describes how to use location tracking of serial numbers to defeating counterfeiting. The paper starts out describing an idea for anti-counterfeit labels using a smart chip with electronic ink, but further down in the paper, it also describes how to do it with just location tracking of printed serial numbers. The paper, titled "Anti-counterfiet authenticity labels - smart chips with electronic ink and wireless i/o - duplicate serial number detection" is posted at IP.COM and also on my friend's web site:
http://above-the-garage.com/rblts/Vincent-Labels.h tm [above-the-garage.com]

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