Brand Alliance Insights

Practical News & Information for Tech Marketers

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In This Issue
AGMA In the News
Do You Trust Your Suppliers?
Quarterly Meeting Recap
In The News

AGMA Helps Consumers Stay on Top of Hi-Tech Counterfeiting Issue


Journalists at the world's top publications continue to look to AGMA as an expert resource when developing stories that deal with issues surrounding technology's counterfeit market.  In December 2006, USA Today published two consecutive articles that featured commentary and advice from AGMA. 


The first article, titled "Bargain Sounds Too Good? Stay Away," targeted consumers searching for bargain prices as they shopped for electronics products for Christmas gifts.  In the article, AGMA's Secretary, Marla Briscoe, pointed out that many of the low priced electronics products that pop up on popular Internet shopping sites, such as Google, Yahoo or eBay, are likely to be counterfeit goods.  The article went on to promote safe shopping habits for online shoppers.


In the same vein, the second article, titled "Some See Red Over Gray-Market Goods," also told cautionary tales about online shopping.  Again, AGMA pointed out that online shopping's growth has sparked a flood of websites that resell foreign goods, from small shops to large auction sites such as eBay.  AGMA contributed to the article's "Six Steps to Avoid Scams," including how to ask the merchant detailed questions about a product and how to check a product carefully once it arrives.


AGMA Receives International Recognition


AGMA is a global association, and the problem of counterfeiting is a global problem.  Therefore, as AGMA reaches out to global media to raise awareness of the issue, outlets worldwide have begun to take notice.


This month, AGMA was featured in a news article in India's The Financial Express titled "Fake Inside."  Over the past two months, AGMA has also been mentioned in articles that ran in Middle Eastern publications including Dubai's IPT Technology and on

AGMA plans to stay in the public eye, helping journalists accurately and effectively report on hi-tech counterfeit and gray market and minimize the threat it poses to consumers and the IT sector.
AGMA is delighted to welcome its newest members:

Welcome to Brand Alliance Insights!  This newsletter is brought to you by AGMA, the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit  Abatement.  This quarter we would like to update you on new developments, best practices and valuable information to help keep your brand safe from gray marketing and counterfeiters.  We'll also keep you up to date on what we've been doing to highlight the issues to government officials and the global media, as well as recap our Winter Quarterly Meeting in case you missed it.Featured Article


Do You Trust Your Suppliers?

Beware the Black Market


Do you know and trust the suppliers you work with?  IT resellers, solution providers and systems integrators that sell to the public sector certainly should, given strict federal acquisition requirements (FAR) and the expectation for all contracted goods to comply with rules set by the Trade Agreement Act.  Unfortunately, in a market where contracts are typically awarded to the lowest bidder, channel companies often seek out suppliers that will cut them the best deal -- with little consideration of where or how those suppliers acquire products.


During the past few years, globalization and outsourcing of manufacturing has contributed to an increase in counterfeiting and software piracy.  Suddenly, gray market channels traditionally reserved for authentic but unauthorized goods are being used to traffic counterfeit, stolen or fraudulently obtained merchandise.  Many gray marketers have knowingly crossed over to this more lucrative business to effectively become black market dealers.


In a feature article in the February 02, 2007 issue of VARBusiness, AGMA shared some insight on this changing environment, the potential harm it causes, and some recommended channel practices that can save customer quality assurance and brand reputation...  


The term "black market" should be redefined to include any products sold under false pretenses, constituting an act of fraud and deception. Consequently, dealers who engage in the following business practices should be classified as black market dealers:


-- Retrofitting second hand goods

   and selling them to buyers as new

-- Selling counterfeit or stolen goods

-- Materially altering products designed

   and authorized for sale in one region
   to enable sale in another region
-- Applying counterfeit labels to goods to
   make them appear genuine, new and
No anti-counterfeiting effort is entirely foolproof, but the better ones can make a significant difference. AGMA urges technology companies to educate themselves about the dangers and warning signs of counterfeiting.

Government Initiatives and Online Auction Sites Top List of Issues Discussed at AGMA's First Quarterly Meeting of the Year


On January 16 and 17, AGMA held its first 2007 global members' meeting, hosted by QUALCOMM, in San Diego, California.  Global members discussed recent U.S. government initiatives focused on protecting the intellectual property of U.S. companies in the global marketplace, including the Bush Administration's STOP (Strategy for Targeting Organized Piracy) initiative.  AGMA's legal advisors, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP led a discussion on the need to raise awareness in Congress and the Administration of the global counterfeiting and product diversion threat and the adverse effects of that threat on U.S. companies and global consumers. 


AGMA members also discussed concerns about the lack of standards among online auction sites requiring sellers to provide information about goods being sold.  The members believe online auctions should be held to the same standards as other avenues of commerce, in which the seller is required to disclose relevant and material information about the item or service being sold. AGMA's Online Auction Committee proposes to collaborate with online auctions to help develop appropriate disclosure standards.


AGMA's quarterly meeting is a forum where members share their experiences in identifying and preventing counterfeiting, fraud and other illegal practices.  At this latest meeting, Qualcomm provided an overview of its brand protection programs. The meeting also featured a workshop in which members discussed common "red flags" and warning signs indicating that a proposed purchase might be seeking to engage in fraud. 


Keeping with AGMA's global focus, which includes the establishment of regional councils in Europe and Asia, the main topics from the global meetings are also discussed during the regional council meetings to include each region's unique viewpoints.


For a list of upcoming quarterly meetings, please see the "Calendar of Events" section.
Calendar of Events

AGMA Americas Spring Quarterly Meeting

April 23-24, 2007; Chicago, IL


AGMA EMEA Summer Quarterly Meeting

June, 2007; London, U.K.


AGMA Americas Summer Quarterly Meeting

July, 2007; Santa Cruz, CA


AGMA APAC Summer Quarterly Meeting

July, 2007; Taipei, Taiwan
Please let us know how we are doing and share with us your experiences and thoughts.
Lily Mei
Executive Director
Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement
40087 Mission Boulevard Suite 208
Fremont, CA 94539