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  • Martin Adelhardt
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Schaeffler successfully takes action against product piracy in the US

Crackdown at Supplier Tex Star Bearings in Houston, Texas - Counterfeit Rolling Bearings Valued at 500,000 USD Seized

(PresseBox) (Houston / Schweinfurt, ) Together with other bearing manufacturers and in close cooperation with US authorities, Schaeffler Group has achieved a significant win in the fight against worldwide product piracy in rolling bearings. On July 16 and 29, 2014, counterfeit rolling bearings valued at over 500,000 USD were seized at supplier Tex Star Bearings in Houston, Texas in the USA. The raids were conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Homeland Security Investigations. Specialists found the bulk of products in stock at the supplier to be counterfeit and removed them. The monetary share of counterfeit products featuring the Schaeffler brand FAG amounted to 185,000 USD. Investigations in this case are ongoing, however the risk of damage to property and personal injury, which is always present when using counterfeit products, was limited just in time by the seizure of the products. For Tex Star Bearings, the cleared stock shelves alone translate into losses in the six-digit range. In addition, the supplier faces substantial compensation claims for damage and penalties.

The investigations in detail

Tex Star Bearings had been repeatedly suspected of trading in counterfeit products. This suspicion was recently confirmed after merchandise was seized by Customs authorities. Back then, counterfeits branded as FAG products and valued at several hundred thousand US dollars were already secured. The subsequent raids of the supplier's warehouses were further important steps to protect downstream distributors and end clients from these counterfeits. Depending on the application, installing these bearings can have catastrophic consequences and even risk the loss of life. For example when these low-quality products are fitted in cars, ships or even aircraft. To further limit such risks, the sales histories will be traced back in the course of the investigation, so that the counterfeit products can be recalled and replaced. All costs will be borne by the supplier responsible for distributing the counterfeits.

Schaeffler against product piracy

To protect buyers and end clients procuring INA and FAG products from distributors, Schaeffler has assessed and certified sales partners worldwide. This ensures that only original products are traded through these sales channels. Schaeffler is also engaged globally in the fight against product piracy. Targeted and effective measures are centrally organized by the Brand Protection Team and implemented with local support. Working together in the World Bearing Association (WBA), major bearing manufacturers take action against counterfeiters, with great global success. When sourcing rolling bearings, always check on the trustworthiness of suppliers to offer only demonstrably genuine merchandise, as just one bearing can lead to substantial financial damages and even risk to life and limb.

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Schaeffler AG

Schaeffler with its product brands INA, LuK and FAG is a leading global provider of rolling bearing and plain bearing solutions and of linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier to the automotive industry of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions and chassis. The group of companies with operations around the world generated revenue of approximately 11.2 billion Euros in 2013. With more than 80,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European technology companies in family ownership. With approximately 170 locations in 49 countries, Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices, and training centers.

The Industrial division supplies components and systems for around 60 different industrial sectors via its worldwide organization with market proximity and its application support service. The range comprises more than 225,000 products from miniature bearings only a few millimeters wide, such as for dental drills, to large-size bearings with an outside diameter of several meters, such as for wind turbines.