UL’s Continued Efforts Impact Counterfeiting Activities and Protect Brands
NORTHBROOK, Ill., – February 7, 2013 – UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety science, recently supported ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Assistant U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Missouri in their efforts to stop the trafficking of illegal goods into this country. The outstanding work done by these agencies has resulted in nine indictments against a Missouri-based company for trafficking in counterfeit goods. The safety of consumers and the interests of legitimate brands and companies that invest in third-party safety certification are being protected through these criminal investigations into the illegal use of the UL safety certification mark. Companies that seek to bypass third-party safety certification by applying counterfeit safety certification marks to their goods gain an unfair competitive advantage over those conscientious companies that invest in safety and lawfully apply legitimate, authorized certification marks.
UL’s anti-counterfeiting initiatives are global; in addition to enforcing its registered trademarks in North America, UL also supported Chinese law enforcement authorities in more than 100 successful administrative and criminal actions in China throughout 2012.
The UL certification mark is the most recognized mark of safety in the North America. A UL safety certification mark on a product is the manufacturer’s representation that samples of the goods have been tested to and meet relevant safety standards. But UL’s work does not end after the initial samples are tested. Every manufacturer authorized to apply the UL safety certification mark to products is also subject to UL’s Follow-Up Services – which entails visits to the physical manufacturing facility to determine that the goods are being manufactured in accordance with the safety requirements. Goods bearing counterfeit UL safety certification marks have not been tested by UL, are not subject to factory inspection, may not meet safety requirements and could present life-threatening safety hazards. An authorized UL safety certification mark on a product is the only means for consumers, retailers, distributors, manufacturers or jurisdictional authorities to determine that sample of the goods have been certified by UL as compliant with relevant safety standards.
Each year, UL makes significant investments to protect consumer safety, the integrity of the UL certification mark and the brands of UL’s customers by working in conjunction with law enforcement authorities around the globe. These coordinated collaborative efforts remove millions of potentially hazardous goods from the stream of commerce and send a strong message to these companies that affix false UL marks on products that have not gone through the required rigorous safety testing. "Meaningful penalties are needed to truly deter this criminal behavior. Without the determined efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the sophisticated investigative skills of Homeland Security Investigations, and the support of the Department of Justice, many more counterfeit and hazardous products will reach the hands and homes of American consumers," stated Judith Lykins, UL’s Global Anti-Counterfeiting Operations Manager. "UL continues its strong fight against counterfeiters in an effort to protect consumers against untested and potentially unsafe products. Our efforts also help protect those global brands and companies that honestly utilize the UL mark as a true representation of the safety testing and certification in which they have invested. Counterfeiters who place an unauthorized UL mark on products dupe consumers and cheat their competitors." USCBP 2011 statistics show that consumer electronics were the number one most seized product, eclipsing footwear for the first time in five years.
UL actively participates with INTERPOL, Europol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Justice and both local and international law enforcement authorities in its anti-counterfeiting and brand protection program.
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