Feb2008

The widely reported story that late last year US Customs and the European Commission Tax and Customs Directorate worked together to seize some 360

The widely reported story that late last year US Customs and the European Commission Tax and Customs Directorate worked together to seize some 360,000 counterfeit ICs late last year is good news for all those involved in the legitimate end of components business. And while the 360,000 components seized in Operation Infrastructure may only be the tip of the iceberg, perhaps the real question is why it has taken so long for news of such a “worthy” operation to be released to the media.

When I wrote last year about the dangers of grey market components and the risk of unwittingly purchasing counterfeit or recycled devices when using “alternative” sales channels, the responses from the rank and file of the Electronicstalk readership demonstrated that this is a subject on which we are all agreed. The dangers should be apparent to all - but there will always be those for whom the potential to make a “fast buck” will overcome all ethics (or logic).

Sadly, though, it is all too easy to see why customs officials tend to focus on the “big brand” counterfeiters. A dozen sets of bogus Callaway golf clubs and a few crates of rip-off Lacoste polo shirts probably do look a lot more impressive in the impound warehouse than any number of microprocessors, A/D convertors or op amps. However, it wouldn’t take too many more successful projects like Operation Infrastructure for the counterfeit component market to lose a lot of its appeal.

We can only hope that the prosecution of those involved will be swift and will have a similarly high profile.
This comment was originally published in the Electronicstalk Newsletter

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About the Author

Electronicstalk and this Editor's Blog are edited by Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini began his career in the electronics press with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1980, cutting his teeth on a variety of learned and member publications, ranging from IEE Proceedings to Electronics and Power. He moved on to join the launch team of the innovative weekly Electronics Express in 1986, and became Editor just 18 months later. Sadly, Electronics Express lasted just four and a half years, wound up by the infamous Robert Maxwell. However, Laurence had already jumped ship and joined the world of electronics PR with the agency of the 1990s, Smith and Jones Communications. It seemed Laurence was lost to the world of journalism. But after 11 years we managed to lure him back as launch editor of Electronicstalk. Laurence is married to Sally and has a young son, Alexander.

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