Heard of NEC, the global electronic products giant? Own any NEC stuff? Better make sure it’s real…
In these days of increasing individual identity theft, it’s hard to imagine an entire company becoming the victim in a similar manner. However, that recently happened to NEC.
Counterfeiters in China and Taiwan have not only been building fake NEC products, but they even went as far as to develop new “NEC” products and have them manufactured. They built factories and building with gigantic NEC signs and emulated the NEC business model to obtain various supplies and business connections. All-in-all, they performed what is commonly called “identity theft” on a very large company!
One has to wonder if, given that these guys are obviously driven and smart, if they could have simply built their own company. Of course, having the leg-up of a known-brand makes selling your custom-designed goods much easier. It’s entirely possible that, had these guys tried to do this all legitimately, they would not have received enough attention to move the devices regardless of the design or quality, but still… I guess a great example of using a crime/stolen property to found a business and get customers up-front, and then go “legit” once you have enough money is the Avanti/Cadence software theft case. Had Avanti not stolen the source code, they would not have even been able the enter the market competitively, even though they were eventually able to create a “clean” product (once they had the money) and sell-out to another company.