Semiconductors are the “brains” inside critically-important electronic systems, including healthcare and medical equipment, electric power grids, communications systems, automotive braking and airbag systems, and aviation systems. Because semiconductors control the performance of these and other vital electronics, counterfeit semiconductor components create significant implications for national critical infrastructure and the safety, security and health of communities and the end consumers. Beyond this, there is an obvious damage to semiconductor rights owners and distribution chains with effects on the wider economy.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Committee works to promote anti-counterfeiting activities that combat semiconductor counterfeits and the risks associated with their proliferation in the global market. It does this through cooperation with authorities, customs trainings, raising awareness of the counterfeit problem, sharing anti-counterfeit company practices and encouraging purchases from authorized sources.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Committee works closely with the European Commission partners and Member State authorities on policies and enforcement activities. ESIA has partnerships within the EU with OLAF (EU’s Anti-Fraud Office), DG TAXUD and the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. Experts also coordinate trainings with member state customs authorities’ officials to assist them on the identification of potentially counterfeit semiconductors. Such enhanced anti-counterfeiting cooperation activities at the industry level alongside government agencies, customs and law enforcement agencies is instrumental to identify and stop parties involved in manufacturing and trafficking in counterfeit goods. ESIA also works within the context of the World Semiconductor Council and its Anti-counterfeiting Task Force to further cooperate globally on this issue. ESIA founded this Task Force and chaired this task force again in 2019.
Conservative industry assessments estimate that the amount of counterfeit products being produced and sold into the semiconductor market is at least 1% of overall global market. As shown by the 2019 OECD-EU IPO published report Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to as much as 3.3% of world trade, and up to 6.8% of EU imports from third countries in 2016.
Europol and EU IPO in their Joint 2019 Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment have identified semiconductor devices as a key product sector within electronics that is subject to counterfeiting. The assessment published in June 2019 refers to the high number of semiconductor detentions of counterfeit semiconductor devices, imported into the EU from China and Hong Kong by postal and express courier services in 2017.
Martin Robl - Infineon Technologies
June 2021: World Semiconductor Council paper on “Counterfeit Semiconductors and the Online Environment”
June 2021: European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights report: “EU Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Overall Results of Detentions, 2019”
May 2021: Council conclusions setting the EU’s priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime for EMPACT 2022 – 2025 (including intellectual property crime and counterfeiting of goods)
September 2019: European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights: Report on the EU Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Results at EU Borders and in Member States 2013-2017
February 2014: WSC Anti-Counterfeiting White Paper
February 2014: WSC Anti-Counterfeiting Presentation
March 2011: Semiconductor counterfeit alert
May 2008: Anti-Counterfeiting Statement