Brand Alliance Insights

Practical News & Information for Tech Marketers

Sponsored by:
In This Issue
Member Spotlight
Tips Corner
Letter from the President

Member Spotlight:


Microsoft Fights

Software Piracy


Software piracy is a worldwide problem that affects consumers, software companies, resellers, technology partners, and the IT industry as a whole.  Each year, millions of consumers unwittingly purchase counterfeit software.  Many companies that sell legitimate software have difficulty competing with low prices offered by software counterfeiters.  Even more troubling, the pirated software can harm consumers in a variety of ways including computer system malfunction, data loss, identity theft, invalid warranties and financial loss.  It can also negatively affect the reputation of brand names.


Businesses that are based on innovation and intellectual property cannot rely on law enforcement alone to combat the piracy and counterfeit problems.  They must protect

themselves and their intellectual property by employing the latest technologies and methods to fight and deter counterfeiters.  Here is what one of AGMA's members is doing to protect itself.


Microsoft has developed the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) as an opt-in program, launched in 2005, as part of its continued effort to combat counterfeiting and to create a better Windows experience through various downloads available for users of genuine Microsoft Windows software. The program is part of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative, which focuses the company's many activities and investments directed at combating software counterfeiting and other forms of software piracy into a single coordinated effort.


Microsoft believes that the most effective way to combat piracy and to meet its responsibilities as an industry leader is through a comprehensive approach that includes education, enforcement and engineering.  The company designed the WGA program based upon customer feedback. Its implementation is grounded in fundamental principles that complement Microsoft's education and enforcement efforts.


When accessing Microsoft Windows services such as Windows Update, or when downloading from the Microsoft Download Center, Microsoft's WGA program makes it easy for users to determine if their software copy is genuine through product activation and validation. Activation works by verifying that the product key code is legitimately licensed. Validation ensures that the product key activated is genuine and is properly being used. If the user's copy does not pass activation or validation, Microsoft offers a detailed description of the cause of the problem as well as an opportunity to fix it online.


For additional information on this program, please visit
Calendar of Events
AGMA Americas
Winter Quarterly
January 16-17, 2008
Miami, FL

Spring Quarterly
April 16-17, 2008
Houston, TX
APAC Council Meeting

March 2008
Hong Kong, China
AGMA to Participate in OpSec Security Web Seminar: Strategies to Combat Gray Market Diversion Across Your Supply Chain
AGMA, represented by our President Emeritus Marie Myers, will be featured in an upcoming webinar on
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 2pm (EST).
Find out about the most effective strategies to protect your brand.  
To register for this webinar please click here.

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 these issues to IT companies, consumers and media outlets around the globe. 


Tips Corner: Tips and Strategies to Help OEMs More Effectively Address Growing Global Counterfeiting Problem


The challenges raised by counterfeiting can be considerable.  Implementing a multi-prong strategy is more likely to yield successful results than relying on a single tactic to address the issue.  Many of the world's leading IT companies have developed and implemented successful security measures and counterfeiting deterrents that other vendors can learn from.  AGMA has collected insights and advice from its experienced membership to identify practices that help combat counterfeiting issues. 


AGMA's Keys to Addressing the Counterfeit Issue:

  1. Design Security Measures into Product Technology and Packaging
    • Design and employ copy-resistant and anti-counterfeit technologies on high risk products, making them difficult to copy
    • Frequently evaluate anti-counterfeit technologies, including radio frequency identification (RFID), security labeling, and other packaging technologies and techniques
    • Layer anti-counterfeiting controls into product and packaging designs, as well as into manufacturing, sales, order processing, services, and warranty processes
    • Educate Stakeholders: Employees, Channel Partners and End Users
    • Develop and implement anti-counterfeit education, training and communication programs for internal and external stakeholders, including end users, channel distribution partners, and service and sales employees
    • Build an anti-counterfeiting organization by evaluating potential areas of risk, establishing clear work methods for employees, setting solid boundaries with regard to activities that can increase counterfeiting, and adhering to company security policies
  2. Secure Supply Chains and Authorized Channels
    • Work very closely with and monitor contractors, the supply chain and distributors, relying on auditing processes and contractual safeguards
    • Sign product distribution agreements that contain specific language protecting the brand, including provisions for auditing and enforcement
    • Monitor potential distribution streams of counterfeit products, such as Internet brokers and trade web sites where identities and sales origin are easy to mask
    • Identify geographical "hotspots", including countries where counterfeiting is likely to be a problem
  3. Develop and Deploy Processes to Fight Counterfeiting
    • Create an internal anti-counterfeiting task force, including stakeholders from finance, sales, and service organizations from all "hotspot" regions in the world
    • Create a global brand protection function to manage the anti-counterfeiting program for the company
    • Provide a simple means by which suspected product, website or other infringements can be reported
  4. React Swiftly to Suspected Illegal Activity
    • Take enforcement action through the legal system against counterfeiting and other illegal operations
  5. Use Law Enforcement and Trade Alliances to Your Advantage
    • Coordinate with U.S. and international organizations and trade alliances in responding to counterfeiting issues
    • Partner with international law enforcement and customs agencies to research and monitor the traffic in counterfeit IT products, and to pursue infringers
    • Be prepared to actively help local law enforcement and other authorities by providing information and tools it cannot afford to buy, such as transportation for local authorities that plan to "raid" a suspected manufacturer or distributor
By implementing these best practices, an IT company can build a strategy that provides valuable benefits to its consumers, internal and external stakeholders and the IT industry as a whole.




Letter from AGMA's President

By Ram Manchi


Greetings, AGMA members!


As your newly elected president, I would like to take a brief moment to introduce myself to those of you who don't already know me through my involvement with AGMA over the past 4 years.  My name is Ram Manchi, and I am a Director, Global Business Controls, at Cisco Systems, leading Cisco's Customer Advocacy Business Controls organization. My main areas of focus include containment of unauthorized service usage, compliance initiatives and introducing and ensuring best practices in Cisco service access and usage.


As AGMA's President, I am responsible for driving AGMA's goal to mitigate the gray marketing and counterfeiting of technology products around the globe. As such, I will facilitate AGMA's growth strategy and help foster the exchange of best practices and successes between members. I will also assist in the further development and building of partnerships with government entities, as well as spearheading the development of industry whitepapers and reports driven by AGMA members.


All that being, said I do have a few items that are 'top of mind' for me at the moment. Chief among them is bringing member companies together to share our collective awareness and insights.

This sharing of best practices will also help in AGMA's education efforts to manufacturers, channel and consumers. This will also allow AGMA to raising awareness to policy makers and law enforcement to actively engage with AGMA and the industry to focus on issues surronding gray market and counterfeit sales.
Another immediate are of focus for me will be e
ngaging legal and industry specialists with expertise in AGMA's charter topics to enable and encourage member companies to protect their intellectual property.


Thank you for taking the time to read this and get to know me. I want to really encourage all members to become actively involved with AGMA. By sharing your experiences, insights and ideas, we can make a difference together.  I hope to speak with you personally in the future!


All best,

Ram Manchi

Please let us know how we are doing and share with us your experiences and thoughts.
Lily Mei
Executive Director