‘The fight isn’t over’, according to Ian Blackman of the Anti-Counterfeiting Forum (ACF). Speaking at a meeting of the forum in central London he said that while counterfeit remains a big issue for the electronics industry, on a positive note: “reporting is increasing, despite companies not wishing to confirm findings, and best practice is also spreading outwards from safety critical industries.”
Peter Marston, a consultant for Rochester Electronics, raised an interesting point warning that increasing M&A activity among semiconductor companies was providing counterfeiters with new opportunities. Redundant equipment, surplus inventory as products are made obsolete and knowledgeable ex-employees re-located to ‘questionable’ geographies all contributed to a rise in counterfeits.
“Industry attempts at avoidance and introducing standards for counterfeit mitigation are based on old counterfeit activity,” he added. “They do not give a 100% avoidance guarantee and will not identify instances of IP theft of the incorporation of Trojans.”
The WAFERS operation put in place in 2015 to train border control staff to recognise counterfeits is set to resume this year after a pause due to heightened border control.
As for standards, the Forum heard that the 2016-D013 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation is being amended to make contractor and subcontractor identification and the use of contractor-approved distributors subject to approval by appropriate DoD officials.
IPO technical secretary, Andrea Pearce, and Felicity Carlysle-Davies from Innovate UK both concluded by urging electronic companies to report cases of counterfeiting to help create a database with which they might better combat the issue.