November 14, 2013

Avoid the hazards of counterfeit forestry tools

In the wake of growing global piracy and brand infringements, here's what you can do do avoid the hazards of counterfeit tools.
Global counterfeit activity is growing in almost every industry, and with it horrendous working conditions, environmentally harmful production and of course – often hazardous products. Depending on the item, the personal risk for end customers varies. But one thing is clear: When it comes to counterfeit power tools safety is never a priority.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has estimated that about 3-7 per cent of the total worldwide trade is represented by counterfeit products. And the BASCAP organization (Business Action to Stop Counterfeit and Piracy) has even expected the number to grow to 10-15 per cent by 2015 if the current development rate is unchanged. When it comes to forestry tools in general, and chainsaws in particular, the figure is likely to be in the upper part of that range – which keeps those working with the Husqvarna‟s anti-counterfeit program more than busy. The program started in 2006 and has since then confiscated tens of thousands of fake products from all over the world. A figure internally described as "the tip of the iceberg‟. 

“Although that number tends to make people gasp, the reality is even more troubling. If one were to take into account the potential of all production facilities that we have been able to stop, my guess would be around five times as high. At this time, we believe that only 2-5 per cent of the total amount of counterfeit chainsaws is being caught,” says Lars Henriksson, Corporate Council Intellectual Property, Legal Affairs at Husqvarna.

Low quality, high danger

The single most active counterfeit manufacturing nation is China, with sales being made on a global scale. Russia is the main influx of counterfeit products – followed by a few additional countries in Eastern and Central Europe as well as Latin America. “Tests show that if the safety features work at all on these products, they do so very poorly. On one confiscated fake chainsaw, for instance, the chain brake function gave up on the third try. So, to stay as safe as possible, never buying a tool of this kind outside an authorized dealership would be my first advice,” says Lars Henriksson.

Financing organized crime

Putting a halt to illegal brand use is an ongoing fight handled by authorities all over the world. One person highly involved in this struggle is Henrik Rasmusson, who works as a Senior Public Prosecutor at the Swedish Prosecution Authority. ”Internationally, the general perception is that counterfeit product sales have started to finance organized crime in a whole new way – offering substantial revenue at a very low risk compared to other sources of criminal income such as drug sales, human trafficking and so on. Adding the chance of buying a potentially dangerous tool, produced without any control whatsoever over pollution, working conditions or minimum wages, should be reason enough for most people to make sure that they get the real thing,” says Henrik Rasmusson.

How to avoid buying a fake chainsaw:

  • Always buy from an authorized dealer and never from ambulant sellers – and remember to be cautious when shopping online.
  • If the price is too good to be true – it probably is.
  • If you are feeling suspicions or unsure – contact Husqvarna to verify the product before buying.
  • If the product is said to be new and smells of petrol – it is likely to be counterfeit. New Husqvarna chainsaws should not smell of petrol.
  • If you have discovered that your new product is a fake, Husqvarna may be able to assist you in your claim against the company or person that sold it.

For more information contact Husqvarna’s intellectual property division via: