Asian product pirates are working as creatively as unscrupulously, in order to boost the business with copies of known brand names. WIKA is also affected, which is why the company has taken legal action against the plagiarists. After all, WIKA’s good image is at stake. This requires uncompromising actions in special cases. This is also demonstrated in the incident of the pressure gauge copies that were produced in China and have emerged in Vietnam. This case has even been awarded with the Plagiarius trophy 2017.
Thanks to its widespread customer and distributor network, WIKA is notified relatively quickly of possible product piracies. This was also the case in Vietnam. A dealer in Ho Chi Minh City was offering alleged WIKA pressure gauges, which turned out to be fake.
This prompted WIKA to perform a first test purchase, in order to prove the dealer’s guilt. First he disappeared for ten minutes, probably in order to fetch the goods from an external storage. In order to determine the storage site, a second test purchase was performed in which a person entrusted by WIKA with this confidential plan followed the dealer. Given the severity of the case, WIKA decided to have the storage raided by police. This had to take place rapidly, in order to prevent a possible clearance of the storage. The Vietnamese Economic Police could be persuaded of the necessity to act quickly and raided the place. The result of the raid was more than 1,000 confiscated instruments and legal proceedings against the dealer in 2015.
His entire demeanour and his connection to a large dealer network kept the suspicion alive; this is why half a year later the test purchase was repeated. Usually Asian dealers lose interest in distributing imitations already after the first contact with WIKA or the police, because their fear of a face loss is too great. All the greater the surprise that in the current case even the raid had not been sufficient: The dealer was now offering “VIKA” instruments. Moreover, his intention was to register “VIKA” as a trademark in Vietnam.
WIKA immediately ordered a second raid and requested the deletion of the trademark “VIKA”. However, the second step first required an expert opinion that the label “VIKA” and the WIKA imitations represented an infringement of equal importance against the trademark rights – this was also successful. In the meantime, the dealer in question has apologised to WIKA in writing and promised to stay away from WIKA imitations in future.
This spring, television crews from Bavarian Broadcasting (Bayerischer Rundfunk – BR) and ZDF visited Ulrich Demuth, patent and trademark manager at WIKA, to report on his work as a “brand hunter”. You can see the report from BR here: