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FSA Ramps Up Fight Against Fakes

Published October 12, 2011

MUKILTEO, WA (BRAIN)—Component manufacturer Full Speed Ahead is warning its retailers and end consumers about purchasing product online or from foreign trading sites in light of ongoing problems with counterfeit items originating from China.

In a press release issued Wednesday from FSA’s Italian office, the company urged dealers only to buy from recognized distributors and bike brand partners and consumers to purchase from trusted retailers to avoid the risk of ending up with counterfeit product.

FSA has been aggressively pursuing manufacturers and resellers of fake FSA branded products for the past several years, an effort that began when Douglas Chiang, owner of Tien Hsin Industries, FSA’s parent company, spotted counterfeit FSA components in a Taiwan shop. It made some progress, tracing goods back to a manufacturer in Taiwan and gaining trademark infringement convictions in a Taiwanese court.

FSA’s European distributor found counterfeit parts on eBay and reported it to Italian customs, which raided several sellers seizing approximately 4,000 to 5,000 euros worth of wheels, handlebars, stems and seatposts. In the U.S., FSA’s North American headquarters has received numerous emails from consumers regarding inauthentic product purchased on eBay. Using eBay’s Vero program, FSA has shut down many of those online auctions, but it’s a time consuming process and it doesn’t stop sellers on other online marketplaces.

Matt VanEnkevort, managing director of FSA North America, said FSA has had pretty good success at curbing online sales whenever staff becomes aware of it, but cutting off the supply line is another issue complicated by the lack of intellectual property laws in China.

“We’re putting out little fires here, but we’re not putting out the source of the fire, that’s a concern,” VanEnkevort said. “I think if we can create good awareness at the shop and consumer level that does more to put out the fire.”

FSA is not alone in its efforts to squeeze counterfeit product, but could the industry do more cohesively to target factories churning out fakes? To find out more about FSA’s strategy and what other companies’ tactics to combat imposters and patent infringement, read the November issue of BRAIN.

—Nicole Formosa

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