Even large companies are victims of identity theft

Identity theft photo
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.

One thought on “Even large companies are victims of identity theft”

  1. I have read several reports about how bad product name and IP theft is in China. The country as a whole refuses to sign into any thing that ties them to laws concerning theft like this. Supposedly patents copyrights and trademarks do not translate over as valid ideas in their society.

    I know have heard from people at some tech companies how they started building up a work force in China, then one day the place just starts selling the same product out of there door as if it was their own. Basically once they learn enough to make money, they cut ties with the original company. Most companies that go through this are somewhat quiet about it because it is somewhat embarassing to them and why tell their customers where to get the same product cheaper.

    With all the push for outsourcing lately, I am very surprised that this sort of thing is not becoming more common. We are pumping tons of cash into foreign marks which may or may not have enough business morals to play fair. I would hope that eventually US companies would realize that they are not really saving anything by shipping all their work overseas, but by that point they may have run off all of the technology talent around.

    Sorry for the rant.

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