Mico takes on counterfeiters

Massive raids lead to 102 arrests across India.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 15 Feb 2007 Views icon6948 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Motor Industries Company (MICO), among India’s largest auto component manufacturing entities and perhaps the most hit by counterfeiting in the country, kept up its tempo of combating the counterfeit auto parts trade by conducting 141 raids which led to the arrests of 102 unscrupulous people. The size of the counterfeit auto parts trade in India is said to be around Rs. 5,000 crore with northern India being its nerve centre.

MICO’s raids included markets in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab etc. This was revealed to Autocar Professional by M Aravindakshan who heads MICO’s anti-counterfeiting cell. He says that the urban areas of northern India are notorious for consumers themselves demanding “D” parts (for the word “duplicate”). This year, the company made an astute strategic shift by conducting raids in regions which located “consuming markets” and not just manufacturing centres alone.

For example, if parts made in Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate are sold in the city of Panipat, MICO would conduct raids in the latter as well. This “bottom up” approach, says Aravindakshan, has proved to be very beneficial. When demand is affected then supply gets a beating too. An interesting tactic that the company adopts after each raid is its “retail blitz” where retailers in that area are quickly made to stock up MICO’s genuine products. The company has found a boost in the sales of its products as a result of this strategy.

The raids were conducted all over India except for one which was carried out in China and could be the first ever such activity by an India-based company in another country. The company has been in close contact with the Chinese Customs office both for informing them about the threat that it has been facing from counterfeiters in China as well as educating them about MICO’s products and their brand. It has also applied for a “customs’ recordation” with the Chinese, which it is awaiting.

MICO finds and has been using several aspects of Criminal Law effectively to combat counterfeiting. Aravindakshan says that the company finds the police to be more responsive since the force now has a considerably large number of young officers who are more receptive and would like to combat counterfeiting.He feels that there is potential for improving IPR law awareness among lower levels of the law enforcement machinery.

Though there are several auto component companies in India whose products are severely hit by counterfeiting, only a handful go hammer and tongs against counterfeiters and in enhancing awareness among consumers of their products on the menace. “We are fighting a lone battle and it would help if national level industry and trade associations also participated,” Aravindakshan says.
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