The US’s Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA), has issued a warning via its Chief Counsel, Robin Gray, regarding counterfeit electronic parts, which have become more problematic during component shortages, regardless of industry. The ECIA encourages the electronic industry to stick to the authorized channels for parts, as well as to report any counterfeit activity or product to the Depart of Justice.
ECIA, it says, is working on keeping an eye on the electronic industry is going through thanks to component shortage, which has hit the industries most reliant on multi-layer ceramic capacitors, such as automotive parts manufacturing. Counsel Gray says that the ECIA is working on dealing with these problems, though these conditions are expected to persist for the most of 2018.
The ECIA’s biggest concern is that customers will turn to alternative, and less-than-legal sources for their components in order to meet their production quotas, which they say is understandable, but puts a lot of people , and the industry itself, at risk, as it means that counterfeit components might get into the supply chain.
The DOJ, meanwhile, have expressed concerns about public health and safety when it comes to dealing with counterfeits, releasing a fairly lengthy statement attach to a grant proposal for law enforcement, saying that counterfeit products are becoming more and more widespread and sophisticated, thanks, in part, to the internet. The statement says that these counterfeit products are invading any industry they can, from counterfeit pharmaceuticals to counterfeit automotive parts, and they are putting consumers across the country at risk.
As a result of the DOJ’s increased awareness of the issue at hand, they have stepped up their enforcement. The DOJ has been making inquiries on any companies suspected of selling counterfeit electrical components. One such inquiry led to an arrest having been made in Orange County, California, with charges being leveled against Rogelio Vasquez, owner of PRB Logics Corporation. The charges were related to selling old integrated circuits made to pass as new.
The case will be prosecuted by the Cyber & Intellectual Property Crimes Section’s Assistant United States Attorney Lisa E. Feldman, whilst the complaint seeking forfeiture of the seized funds was filed by Assistant United States Attorney Steven R. Welk, the Chief of the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Section.