The existence of numerous counterfeits on the African market prompted the WCO (World Customs Organization) to organise a customs training session in Mombasa/Kenya. After addressing the counterfeit problem and potential solutions, various companies presented their measures against product piracy. More than 60 customs employees from 13 countries participated in the two-day training session to receive specialised training in identifying brand and product counterfeits. As was the case in previous customs training sessions, the presented information and examples were of great interest to the customs officers and may now be implemented in the subsequent customs measures—a first step for MAHLE to protect our customers from the hazards related to counterfeits in Africa. The MAHLE protective features on the packaging as well as additional counterfeit indicators were illustrated by comparing counterfeit examples and originals. Overall, the customs training session was a great success.

Just a few days thereafter, we received notice of confiscation of MAHLE cylinders at the border of a country participant in the customs training session. The parts were identified as counterfeits. Actions against the exporter were initiated in accordance with the applicable legislation.

Following extended investigations, counterfeited MAHLE and Knecht air and oil filters were seized in almost simultaneous raids conducted by the Public Security Bureau (PSB). Despite resistance of the owners, the officers were able to obtain a comprehensive picture of the situation and take further steps with the assistance of our trained investigators. The parts will be destroyed after completion of the investigation.

Following investigations of various automotive suppliers, significant success in the fight against plagiarism was also achieved in the Middle East. At both locations, the resident workers confirmed that the parts contained there are repackaged and are locally branded no-name products. Various brands were seized, representing millions in damage to the affected brand owners. The workers have been provisionally arrested and a lawsuit is filed against the owner. MAHLE has launched an investigation against the supplier and other implicated parties.

To guarantee the highest level of security against counterfeiting, we have been optimising the packaging of our new products since December 2016 to include the universal product code (UPC). This 12-digit barcode allows a product to be uniquely identified by manufacturer and product classification. During the transition period, two versions of our security labels will therefore be in circulation—one with and one without UPC.