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|The Lang Son authorities' unannounced inspections yielded a large catch of fake Honda and Yamaha parts|
After an unannounced inspection, the Market Management Department of the northern province of Lang Son found that six agencies are trading 43 kinds of motor parts, confiscated and sealed 986 products that are similar to Honda and Yamaha parts and are suspected of being counterfeit goods, according to newswire Lao Dong newspaper.
After receiving a license from the Vietnamese government in 2005, Yamaha Motor Co. established its Vietnamese subsidiary, Yamaha Motor Parts Manufacturing Vietnam. Its main scope of business includes designing, manufacturing, and assembling molded parts for motorcycles including geared motors, power trains, steel parts, and cylinder engines.
Over the past years, the manufacturing and sales of counterfeit goods and other forms of intellectual property infringement have been on the rise, with increasingly sophisticated methods to avoid detection by customers and authorities alike. Annually, the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance inspects, handles, and prevents tens of thousands of trade fraud and origin and intellectual property violations.
In the first six months of 2018, Vietnamese agencies detected, arrested, and handled 88,229 cases of violation, issuing fines of more than VND7.427 trillion ($322.9 million). This included more than 5,000 cases of counterfeit and intellectual property infringements, up 117 per cent over the same period in 2017.
Counterfeit production does not stop at relatively simple electronics and parts. There are even fake versions of Panasonic’s famous air-conditioners in circulation, hinting at the technical expertise of illegal producers.
As a result, more and more foreign enterprises in Vietnam have to enlist law firms to address IP rights infringements. The large majority of IP right holders in Vietnam opt for out-of-court arrangements rather than seeking administrative enforcement, thus only a handful of IPR cases reach Vietnamese courts.
However, several companies conduct IP protection activities away from the public eye – either to save costs or because the damage by public and official action would outweigh its benefits. Such concerns can affect even the largest of corporations, like Panasonic which has been keen to display counterfeit products to draw attention to the issue at several Japanese workshops.
For example, at the November 2018 workshop on spotting counterfeit goods held by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan External Trade Organization, and the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance, Panasonic Vietnam displayed numerous counterfeit products, including electric kettles, hairdryers, batteries, and irons, among others. This is aimed to prove that to the naked eye there is scant difference between original and fake – apart from the price tag: Panasonic hair dryers on Shopee.vn go from VND68,000 ($2.96), while on the Panasonic website the cheapest hair dryers cost VND239,000 ($10.39).