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Timken backs up customs to combat counterfeiting

BULGARIA – Timken educates customs officials in those countries where its trademark is recorded. On the agenda: what to look for when they examine products labeled with the Timken brand. This proactive approach paid off in September during a routine customs inspection in Sofia, Bulgaria.

An air shipment on its way from Hong Kong to the country of Macedonia contained 31 tapered roller bearings (TRBs) in boxes showing the Timken brand. The tattered appearance of the packaging aroused a customs inspector’s suspicions, which grew when he found additional bearings with labels from Timken competitors mixed in with the shipment. Most suspicious of all, perhaps, the paperwork showed the shipment was intended for a distributor that was not included on the Timken authorized channel listing on file with customs officials.

In accordance with Bulgarian customs protocols, he asked Timken to authenticate the bearings. A Timken service engineer quickly concluded that the TRBs were not genuine Timken products. In addition to other tell-tale signs of counterfeiting, the bearings were priced at about 20 percent the cost of genuine Timken TRBs.

Fake bearing are destroyed
Bulgarian officials detained the shipment and informed the intended recipient. Timken arranged with a local authorized distributor to destroy the fake bearings. “Multiple shipments in small volumes by air are becoming more commonplace as counterfeiters try to minimize their risk of being caught. They vary their methods and level of activity from country to country. Customs officials play a pivotal role in stopping the flow of counterfeit goods, and we applaud Bulgaria’s attention to detail in regularly examining every shipment entering their country,” said Ciprian Nicolae Chiric, Timken sales manager for Romania, Bulgaria and Moldavia.

“Customs officials and manufacturers alike must continue to evolve their methods as we jointly strive to rein in illegal activities that undermine the confidence of purchasers in our brand promise,” Chiric said.