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SIA welcomes international effort vs. counterfeiting

Posted: 26 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:anticounterfeiting? international effort? SIA members?

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) this week issued a statement lauding the announcement by U.S. Trade Rep. Susan C. Schwab that the United States, Canada, the European Commission, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Switzerland would seek to initiate negotiations on an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

"Given the ubiquity of semiconductors in computers, telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics, automobiles and medical equipment, reliability problems caused by counterfeit semiconductors can cause economic losses and safety effects far exceeding the value of the semiconductor itself," said SIA President George Scalise. "Effective anticounterfeiting measures will also protect consumers by helping to ensure that electronic products deliver the full performance and reliability promised by genuine semiconductor devices."

SIA has seen an increase in cases of counterfeit semiconductors in recent years. The most common problem is a remarked product, where the counterfeiter scrapes off the marking on the outside of an IC and remarks it with a different brand, speed or part number. The device is then sold outside authorized channels and purchased by an unwary buyer. If the buyer's quality control does not catch the fraud, the counterfeit semiconductor is frequently used in an application for which it was not intended and where it will either fail or deliver substandard performance.

The SIA has formed an Anticounterfeiting Task Force that is working on a number of measures to combat counterfeiting, including developing standards with the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) to facilitate the use of encrypted "license plates" on containers that can be authenticated by third parties, helping members work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to improve seizure of counterfeits at the border, and encouraging SIA members to join the China-government-supported "Reliable Electronic Component Supplier" (RECS) program.

In May 2007, the World Semiconductor Council (WSC), composed of the Semiconductor Industry Associations in China, Taiwan, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United states, issued a joint statement calling "for all governments/authorities to implement effective enforcement measures for protection of IP rights within their jurisdictions." The WSC also asked that "in those jurisdictions where criminal enforcement actions are only taken when the amount of counterfeit goods are above a certain threshold amount, governments should substantially lower the criminal threshold for semiconductors and other intermediate goods where the damage to downstream industries is high."

"SIA looks forward to working with U.S. Trade Rep. Susan Schwab and her team as the anticounterfeiting agreement is developed to ensure that the problems of semiconductor counterfeiting are appropriately addressed," Scalise concluded. "We are hopeful that more governments will join the effort to develop an agreement that provides strong and effective cooperative actions against counterfeiting. Increased international cooperation to combat trade in counterfeit goods is necessary for the healthy growth of global trade."

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