UFI Filters, a leader in the world of filters and thermal management, is on the front line of the fight against the sale of counterfeit spare parts through a range of traditional and e-commerce channels. To fight the root cause of the phenomenon, the UFI Filters Group has activated a series of strategies together with Convey, a company from Turin that is a leading provider of services for fighting counterfeits online, with the aim of limiting the sale of fake spare parts which are invading the market through the internet.
Ever since 1972, UFI Filters has been working to protect its products and associated brands through the registration of its brands and patents on the main global markets. This is a first, indispensable step toward fighting the counterfeit trend, which has become a full-blown problem for the sector. The annual revenue for fake products is, in fact, estimated at 1,700 billion euros, generated by products that mainly come from China and the Far East, from countries like Thailand, Indonesia, India; ultimately reaching the doorway to Europe through the Middle East (Emirates) and Turkey (source: S.I.A.C. – Sistema Informativo Anti-Contraffazione della Guardia di Finanza italiana). The phenomenon has negative effects for everyone in the supply chain, from the manufacturers of original parts, to distributors, to the end user – the car owner – who is unaware of the dangers posed by fake spare parts that have not undergone rigorous quality control.
Action by the UFI Filters Group has begun with the registration of its active brands – UFI Filters and SOFIMA Filter – and of the Group's patents on the main global markets. To date UFI has registered 167 patents and utility models. This starting point allows UFI to collaborate with Convey in Internet Intelligence & Protection on the main international internet sales platforms, especially Chinese and Turkish ones.
The battle against counterfeit products is not limited to fighting the counterfeiter. The probability of success is increased through the collaboration of proxies – e-commerce platforms, social networks, internet service providers or hosting providers – that do not want to be responsible within the sale of fake products. By means of a ‘take down notice’ backed by a claim to intellectual property and registered patents, the illicit offer is rapidly removed and, in the event of a repeat offence, the counterfeiter's account may be closed permanently. Such action is consistent with international e-commerce regulations.
Furthermore, through more traditional channels, UFI Filters offers a service to its own distribution network, providing training sessions to help customers distinguish original products from counterfeits – especially those products most affected by counterfeiting such as the "H2O" and "ONE" family and high-filtration water filters, which are the outcome of exclusive UFI technology.
The action by UFI Filters to fight inappropriate use of its brands and the violation of its patented technologies is further strengthened by the use of labels attached to the product packaging in particularly high-risk markets, such as the Far East. These labels include a QR code and are produced using printing techniques that make them very difficult to copy.
Luca Betti, Aftermarket Business Unit Director of the UFI Filters Group, comments: “Our partnership with Convey is crucial to fighting the fake product phenomenon at its source; in other words, through channels like the internet that are especially difficult to control. This collaboration has helped Convey raise awareness in the market, showcasing the UFI Group as an example for a pilot project that will include other players in the sector. UFI Filters also offers immediate technical and legal support to its own Aftermarket distribution network, for instances of counterfeiting reported by customers. Therefore, to put an end to this phenomenon, our official distributors must always be contacted when purchasing products that bear the UFI Filters or SOFIMA Filter brand.”
Senior Account Manager DACH / UK