Pirates Knock Off Not NEC's Products, But The Whole Company

from the would-you-like-to-buy-this-dvd-playarrrrrrr? dept

The International Herald Tribune has a fascinating tale of piracy today, in which the Japanese company NEC was targeted by Chinese counterfeiters. They didn't just make knock-off products, but instead stole the NEC brand, then essentially set up their own little NEC, coordinating manufacturing in 50 factories, organizing distribution and centrally collecting profits. The pirates even went so far as to develop their own line of products, which NEC says were of generally good quality, and carried NEC business cards and commissioned research in the company's name. Cases like this highlight the value of trademark law -- when it's properly applied, and not used as a tool to squash competition. Trademarks are intended specifically to address cases like this, where customers, retailers and even factory owners were tricked into thinking they were dealing with the real NEC, not to allow entities to completely prevent any mention of themselves that they may not like.

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  1. identicon
    RH, 29 Apr 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Re: I think that...

    “blatantly racist”, I think not. Certainly a health dose of nationalism though. Modern folks often confuse the two.

    China ignores trademarks and copyrights simply because it is in its national interest to do so. When it ceases to be in its national interest China will stop (witness South Korea). Countries normally do not act morally or ethically unless it is to their advantage (in their national interest). Almost all governments lie (frequently) and will certainly lie to advance their own agenda.

    This will change only when their people hold their leaders and bureaucrats (individually and collectively) to the same standards they hold their friends. But alas we are sheep and fear power, torture, death, persecution, harassment and even inconvenience. Many don't care and others are in favor of being advanaged at nearly any cost. So it is.

    No doubt China is a rising power. IMHO the US is a falling one. The fall will probably be slow and happen over a few generations. Powers rise and powers fall – “same as it ever was.”

    I'm glad they shut them down (the NEC fakes). They had stolen the work of others and caused harm. The wrongness of one action (war in Iraq, support for dictators, etc.) does not justify a completely independent wrong (and normally not even a dependent one).


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