South Korea-based appliance manufacturer LG Electronics has introduced an anti-counterfeiting program in the Middle East to beat perpetrators of product fraud in the air-conditioning business.
Counterfeit LG air conditioners have recently started appearing in a number of markets in the Middle East and Africa region, including Iraq and the UAE, prompting the company to step up its copyright protection drive to protect its customers. Within the framework of this program, the appliance maker is prepared to request a ban on imports and customs clearance of counterfeit LG products and has set up special anti-counterfeiting reporting processes with its dedicated in-house business personnel and legal team in Korea and abroad.
LG officials are training distributors to differentiate authentic from counterfeit products and warning them of the legal complications that they may face for illegally trading in counterfeit goods.
“Counterfeiting and product fraud affects our entire industry and we are concerned about the danger this poses to our consumers," said K H Kim, president, LG Electronics Middle East and Africa Operations. "As the producer of the world’s best-selling air-conditioners, I believe LG has a responsibility to lead the fight against product fraud and pursue appropriate legal measures to prevent counterfeit air conditioners from coming to the market. We are stepping up efforts to track down importers, distributors, and manufacturers of counterfeit products."
To further minimize damage, the company is launching a media and advertising campaign to help consumers identify counterfeit products and to educate the shopping public about the significance of the invoice and warranty certificates. The company is also tracking down importers, distributors, and manufacturers of counterfeit products.
The counterfeit LG air-conditioners being distributed illegally in the Middle East feature a crudely manufactured sticker of the LG logo on its packaging. Many of the counterfeit products also bear stickers listing two different countries of origin (both Korea and China) and differing ranges of operational capacity. Fakes can be identified by closer inspection of the packaging and the logo on the units.
"For the time being, we recommend our consumers verify the authenticity of our products by examining the LG logo, country of origin, and operational capacity," Mr. Kim noted. "We are thoroughly investigating the distribution networks of counterfeit products and taking prompt action to prevent unauthorized sales. We are taking all necessary measures to ensure that customers can purchase LG air conditioners safely."
LG is working with local law enforcement authorities to explore ways in which they can cooperate to tackle sales and production of counterfeits electronic brands. According to Japanese market research consultancy Fuji-Keizai, the global air-conditioner market is worth U.S. $ 52 million. The research firm says that LG sold more than 10 million units in 2004 worldwide with 20-percent market share and aims to manufacture more than 12 million units in 2005. (Al Bawaba)
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