LONDON — While the theft of intellectual property and the copying of products has been a problem in southeast Asia for some time, Japan’s NEC has received the back-handed compliment of having an entire NEC company counterfeited, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.
The existence of the false NEC, which operated mainly in China but seemed to have been controlled by entities in Japan and Taiwan, came to light after two years of investigations, the report said.
The fake NEC had developed a portfolio of about 50 counterfeit products, including home entertainment systems, MP3 players, batteries, microphones and DVD players. In addition to copying NEC products the bogus company had developed products of its own that are not in the legitimate NEC’s range.
In some aspects the fake NEC behaved as a legitimate company, handing out manufacturing contracts and licensing Chinese companies to use its designs, but all the time under the NEC brand, to which it had no right, the report said.
“These entities are part of a sophisticated ring, coordinated by two key entities based in Taiwan and Japan, which has attempted to completely assume the NEC brand,” the report quoted Fujio Okada, senior vice president and general manager of NEC’s legal division saying in written answers to questions.
The report said NEC had declined to identify the offenders for legal reasons and that it was unable to estimate the value of goods sold by the illegal company.