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Fender Fights Counterfeiting

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Manufacturers want counterfeiters to face the music.

That’s the message from Fender Musical Instruments Corporation—one of the world’s leading manufacturers of guitars, basses and amplifiers and an iconic brand recognized by millions. The company is urging Congress to step up protections for manufacturers and increase oversight of third-party sellers that can unintentionally contribute to the sale of counterfeit merchandise.

The problem: Manufacturers like Fender routinely face threats to their brand from counterfeit products. In 2021 alone, the company identified almost 32,000 listings of Fender products online for potential trademark infringement. Nearly 70% of those flagged listings were suspected of being counterfeit products. Yet, because those products are often sold anonymously through third-party online marketplaces, it can be difficult to go after the groups and individuals who create and supply fake merchandise.

Consumer issues: Counterfeits don’t just rob consumers of an authentic Fender experience; they can also create safety concerns. Guitars and amps with electrical components have been tested and perfected to ensure a safe product, but counterfeit and fake products come with no such guarantee.

A global challenge: Fender isn’t the only manufacturer facing issues around counterfeits and copyright infringement. According to the NAM’s research, fake and counterfeit products cost the United States $131 billion and 325,000 jobs in 2019 alone, and the global trade in counterfeits may exceed $500 billion every single year. That puts an enormous burden on manufacturers and consumers alike.

Our move: The NAM is leading the fight against counterfeit products. Our report, “Countering Counterfeits,” includes a series of suggested solutions to help the federal government and the private sector work together against fake merchandise, including:

  • Requiring e-commerce platforms to reduce the availability of counterfeits;
  • Modernizing enforcement laws and tactics to keep pace with counterfeiting technology;
  • Streamlining government coordination;
  • Improving private-sector collaboration; and
  • Empowering consumers to avoid counterfeit goods.

The word from Fender: “Protecting consumers starts with protecting the manufacturers who have built a name by putting out the best and safest products,” said Executive Vice President of Operations and Co-President of the Fender Play Foundation Ed Magee in his letter to Congress. “By working together with online marketplaces, manufacturers and trademark holders can proactively work toward preventing counterfeit goods from entering the stream of commerce, while also reactively working together to track down fraudulent sellers. When manufacturers and online marketplace vendors come together like this, the consumer is the ultimate winner.”

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