Asian product pirates are working as creatively as they are unscrupulously, in order to boost their business with copies of known brand names. WIKA is also affected, which is why the company has taken legal action against the counterfeiters. After all, WIKA’s good image is at stake. This requires uncompromising actions in particular cases. This has also been demonstrated in the case of 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 first 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 discover this storage site, a second test purchase was performed, where someone entrusted by WIKA with this confidential plan followed the dealer. Given the severity of the case, WIKA decided to have the storage location raided by police. This needed to take place rapidly, in order to prevent any possible clearance of the storage location. The Vietnamese Economic Police were persuaded of the necessity to act quickly and they raided the place. The result of the raid was more than 1,000 confiscated instruments and also legal proceedings against the dealer in 2015.
His overall behaviour and his connection to a large dealer network kept the suspicion alive; thus, half a year later the test purchase was repeated. Usually Asian dealers immediately lose interest in distributing imitations already after the first contact with WIKA or the police, since their fear of losing face is too great. All the greater the surprise that, in this 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 “counterfeit”. You can see the report from BR here: