© ebm-papst

The fight against
product piracy

Not all prod­ucts that say ebm-papst on them are actu­ally made by ebm-papst. An inter­view with Ralf Duckeck, Director Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty at ebm-papst.

Mr. Duckeck, what is your role as Director Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty at the company?

Together with my seven employees, we handle all tasks related to patents, designs, and trade­mark protec­tion. This includes pursuing patent infringe­ments. I make sure that coun­ter­feit ebm-papst prod­ucts are taken off the market and don’t damage our good name.

Ralf Duckeck, Director Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty at ebm-papst (Photo | ebm-papst)

How does this work exactly?

We work on this with an agency called CorSearch, whose soft­ware – which also uses arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence – scours the internet for offers of ebm-papst prod­ucts. The adap­tive soft­ware recog­nizes coun­ter­feits, which then end up on a list. We look at this list and decide which adver­tise­ments need to be deleted.

Is that how it always works?

No, some­times we are also approached by customers who are familiar with the quality of our prod­ucts but are suddenly expe­ri­encing prob­lems. An example of this was when a customer contacted us to complain that the fans they had installed were too loud. We found out that the supplier had unknow­ingly purchased coun­ter­feit ebm-papst prod­ucts on the internet because we had a supply bottle­neck at the time. Actu­ally, despite all the frus­tra­tion, we took it as a compli­ment, as the customer was used to a higher level of quality from our prod­ucts.

How many coun­ter­feits do you pursue on a routine basis?

In collab­o­ra­tion with CorSearch, we reviewed around 70,000 online ads in 2021. Of these, CorSearch reported 60,000 to us as poten­tial fakes, and 42,080 were removed.

Are there some­times false alarms?

That’s quite a rare occur­rence, but it does happen. We once had a case where a trainee placed pictures of coun­ter­feit goods in an offer on the internet. However, when we checked, we found that the trader was autho­rized and that the issue with the pictures was just an over­sight.

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