WASHINGTON - The National Marine Manufacturers Association praised the Senate for passing the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act in a statement Tuesday. The NMMA hailed the bill, passed Nov. 11, as an important first step to reduce the proliferation of counterfeit goods, which cost manufacturers about 750,000 jobs a year.
The bill closes an important loophole in current U.S. law. Authorities will be allowed to seize counterfeit goods and the equipment used to make them, effectively putting counterfeiters out of business. Counterfeit goods, or fakes, account for up to seven percent of global trade, some $500 billion a year, according to the NMMA. The past few years have seen a surge in counterfeit products produced in China, the number one origin of counterfeit goods intercepted at U.S. borders.
“The U.S. recreational marine industry is not immune to the threat of counterfeiting, and NMMA has been extremely proactive in educating Congress about the risks associated with counterfeit products and in reaching out to federal authorities to strengthen their enforcement efforts,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations. “Counterfeiting costs American jobs. Every counterfeit product sold displaces a bona fide product in the marketplace.”
Counterfeit products are not only detrimental to manufacturers whose products are copied as knock-offs, but they pose a danger to consumers because the counterfeit products typically are made with inferior craftsmanship, contain inferior materials and serious design flaws, and lack the sufficient quality assurance testing found in the marine manufacturing industry, where product quality is a top priority.
“NMMA and our members take counterfeiting, and the threat it poses to marine manufacturing industries, very seriously,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Several of our member companies have been hit hard by illegal trafficking in counterfeit goods, and ending the proliferation of these goods remains a top priority.”
China is a “first to register” state and NMMA recommends that its members register their trademarks and key intellectual property in China, even if they are not currently doing business there, for the members' protection.
“Passage of S. 1699 [the bill] is a significant hurdle in our fight against counterfeiting, and we will continue to advocate for the crackdown on counterfeiters,” Fontaine said. “Until other nations eliminate their counterfeiting industries, NMMA members must be proactive and take urgent action to protect their products, their reputations, their bottom lines, and their consumers ¬ and we will work with you to protect your products.”
Passage of the bill will empower U.S. trade officials to insist that U.S. trading partners adopt their own forfeiture and destruction provisions before they sign a trade deal with the United States. The House of Representatives and Senate must now reconcile their versions of the counterfeiting legislation in conference and approve the bill to be sent to the President for his signature.
- For more of the latest news, click here.