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Bendix backs counterfeiting legislation

ELYRIA, Ohio -- Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is in strong support of S. 522, a bill to improve the management,...

ELYRIA, Ohio — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is in strong support of S. 522, a bill to improve the management, coordination, and effectiveness, of domestic and international intellectual property rights enforcement.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, S. 522 aims to allocate more resources in the fight against counterfeiting and mandate federal agencies to report to Congress on the progress of these efforts.

Counterfeiting is estimated to cost US companies more than $250 billion in lost revenue each year and often can flood markets with inferior products, leading to a threat to public safety, according to Bendix.

In the commercial vehicle industry, particularly within the braking system, the impact to affected manufacturers is far more than lost revenue its about safety, said Andy Cifranic, brand manager for Bendix. The nature of our business involves efficiently stopping 80,000-pound vehicles, so any compromise to the integrity of vehicle braking systems due to poorly manufactured knockoff components has an impact on our brand, but more importantly, it can also have very serious consequences for our customers and highway safety in general.

Bendix has built on the momentum of its multi-year awareness campaign by: expanding its cooperation with policymakers to combat the influx of knockoffs; increasing its enforcement efforts against trademark, patent and intellectual property infringement; and expanding the capture and testing of counterfeit parts to educate the transportation industry on the hazards of inferior components.

In 2006, Bendix was one of seven organizations which participated in a supply chain study by the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Most recently, the company was interviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for its investigation into the role of federal agencies in the war against the import of knockoff products. The GAO report, initiated by Sen. Voinovich, is expected to be released later this year.

Bendix has also worked with the federal government on expanding the number of its genuine products that are protected under Federal Trademark Registration. This safeguard allows Bendix to pursue action, legal and otherwise, against counterfeiters who claim to sell genuine Bendix products.

Product safety and quality is a core belief within our organization, Cifranic said. Brakes are not the place to cut corners. When purchasing replacement parts, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. With knockoffs populating the shelves in retail locations across North America, every week we learn of yet another situation where a disappointed consumer thought they were buying the real McCoy but they walked away with just the opposite.

Cifranic states that knockoff and counterfeit parts often mislead consumers with nearly identical packaging, part names, and part numbers.

A charter member of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Brand Protection Council, Bendix and its anti-counterfeiting program has garnered national attention within and outside of the trucking industry.

Company officials have recently shared their best practices at a Senate subcommittee hearing on the topic, as well as on previous panels at national anti-counterfeiting conferences alongside consumer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Oakley, New Balance and the National Basketball Association.

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