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Counterfeit Bearings Cost More Than Just Money

ACN director for legal and corporate affairs, Fred Muwema speaks out in recent article about fake bearings and the risk that it imposes not on just a companies bottom line but he lives of those that drive vehicles with them. 

Muwema said counterfeit goods constitute up to 70% of the goods on the Ugandan market due to the weakness in the legal framework.

'Dealing in counterfeits is counterproductive and criminal for it affects the economy’s tax revenue but most significantly peoples’ lives are at risk. We lose at least 10 people every day due to motor accidents because of vehicles that fail to break due to fake bearings,' he said."

It would be nice to imagine that this was a minor problem, but the facts suggest otherwise. According to a study published by the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), the annual economic and social costs resulting from this amounts to $1.7 billion worldwide. Indeed, counterfeiting is widely considered to be the single biggest limiting factor on the growth of the bearings market.


Statistics About Counterfeit Bearings

1. The annual economic and social costs resulting from fake bearings amounts to US$ 1.7 billion worldwide.

2. The total cost of fake bearings to the global economy is around $4.2 trillion!

3. With the rise of advanced technology in third world countries, it’s becoming easier to illegally replicate a reputable manufacturer’s product, making it nearly impossible to distinguish between the fake and genuine brand of bearing.

4. There have been numerous documented cases of counterfeit bearings being the cause of major machine failures, factory damage, injuries, expensive plant downtime and the loss of product guarantees.

5. Detecting a counterfeit is difficult and often only the tiniest nuances can mean the difference between a real and a fake. One way to do it is to check the part number. Each manufacturer has their own unique stamp and etched part number that is standard across their bearings. If there seems to be something different about a stamp or part number on your bearing, it may be a counterfeit.


View the U.S. Bearing Brand Protection Handbook put together by the 2016 ABMA Anti-Counterfeiting Committee. 

U.S. Customs Training

ABMA’s Customs Education Seminar has educated Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agents and Import Specialists, IPR Center Staff, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials and Criminal Research Specialist about the issues surrounding counterfeit bearings leading to more effective enforcement at the borders and additional partnership opportunities. As a result of our efforts, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized counterfeit bearing products through numerous entry ports including one 2011 seizure with an estimated retail value of about $750,000 including fake versions of numerous premium brands. ABMA has trained annually at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Customs Fraud Investigation Course in Georgia and the following Ports of Entry:

  • Port of Chicago, IL
  • Port of Cleveland, OH
  • Port of Charleston, SC
  • Port of Dallas, TX
  • Port of Houston, TX
  • Port of Laredo, TX
  • Port of Long Beach, CA
  • Port of Miami, FL
  • Port of Newark, NJ / JFK Airport
  • Port of Savannah, GA

Brand New White Paper About Counterfeit Products that affect manufacturing in the U.S.. Produced by NAM. 

Download here for free.



Distributor Partnership

ABMA has also worked with the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) and the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) to engage distributors and OEMs in the fight against this important issue.

ABMA hosted a Fighting Counterfeits in the Bearing Supply Chain webinar on Tuesday, July 24. The webinar educated distributor partners at all levels of distribution on the realities of counterfeit bearings, their impact on the supply chain and what can be done to ensure that counterfeit bearings do not infiltrate the authorized bearing channels.


Click Below to Report IP Theft to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center