Jul 4, 2011

Fighting forgeries

Posted by: David Holt

The problem became apparent when Item Products, which supplies injection moulded handles to Trendsetter for the packaging of a range of pillows and duvets sold by Habitat, identified a batch of fakes during routine in-store spot checks.

Item goes to great lengths to protect its designs with European Patents or Registered Community Designs, and will take all measures necessary to defend them, said Julian Cook, managing director at Item.

What shocked us most of all was that the fake was so near to perfect in the way it was copied that only engineering points and inferior grade material gave the game away. Aside from the loss of revenue, one of the major issues with forgeries is that whilst they might look identical, if the forger has used an inferior grade of material and the product fails, the perception of poor quality falls back on the original manufacturer.

Item Products alerted Trendsetter, which supplies and packages the pillows and duvets for Habitat, of the problem that had apparently arisen when sourcing was switched from Europe to Asia.

Trendsetter contacted Habitat to explain the situation and an agreement was reached that while no further handles would be sourced from Asia, the cost and inconvenience of withdrawing all fake handles from Habitat stores and replacing with authentic ˜Brandles'™, would be counter-productive.

We believe in ˜brand UK" and work hard to ensure that we compete effectively with overseas competition, said Cook. Much of the work that was moved to China over the past decade on cost grounds is now returning to this country as run lengths shorten, stockholding reduces, and JIT deliveries become the norm.

 Plastics and Rubber Weekly

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