Cisco is making a concentrated effort to reduce the amount of Counterfeit products in the market. We work with our channel partners, who handle more than 90 per cent of Cisco sales in the region, to provide genuine Cisco products that are properly licensed and warranted. We offer a complimentary health check of Cisco networking devices if and when requested through the Buy Right Campaign. At Cisco, our Global Brand Protection team drives the company’s ongoing, proactive, and company-wide effort to protect customers against counterfeit products and software and by working with law enforcement bodies to identify counterfeiters, stop their activities, and bring them to justice.
But if I have to zero in on Cisco and the Middle East counterfeit market, it is safe to say that we have seen a spike in counterfeit products circulated in the UAE and the Gulf. The size of this market can vary with the macroeconomic environment and product supply vs. demand, among other factors. During tough economic times, budgets get stretched and the grey market can appear attractive to those looking for lower cost products which on the surface meet their needs but also increases the likelihood of counterfeit products being deployed in their networks
We support local law enforcement to hold accountable individuals and criminal enterprises that trade in illegal counterfeit products - actively working with local law enforcement and government agencies throughout the Middle East region to clamp down on traffickers of counterfeit Cisco products.
Cisco Brand Protection team’s collaboration with the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Police Forces has resulted in over 1000 (high and low end) counterfeit Cisco products being seized in the past year alone in the UAE. We also conduct customs authority training in UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. We have also conducted five successful raids in the last year due to our mutual co-operation with the Police authorities. To give you a recent example, a successful raid was conducted in Abu Dhabi in which we seized over half a million USD in counterfeit Cisco products with the manager being arrested onsite, the products seized and subsequently destroyed after the court issued a verdict in our favour. As a result, the guilty company incurred a heavy fine and its operations were shut down for a given timeframe.
The UAE law enforcement authorities are cracking down severely on counterfeits and this is reflected in the UAE new laws being enacted to strengthen existing anti-counterfeiting efforts. It is now an offense for a person or organization to possess counterfeit goods, even if not for sale, with a maximum penalty of AED 250,000 for counterfeit IT products compared to a maximum penalty of AED 1 million fine and/or 2 years in jail for pharmaceutical and food products. Plans are on to establish a nation-wide anti-counterfeiting body, rather than for each Emirate. For the Brand owners, the Emirates have laid down a number of counter measure options to safeguard our Brand and genuine products.
I urge companies to buy Cisco products through authorized Cisco channels to minimize the risks. For a list of our Cisco Authorized partners – please visit Partner Locator. While we recommend customers always take advantage of the newest innovations from Cisco, we realize that in some situations, new Cisco may not be an option. When purchasing Cisco products, be sure you know the differences among what is offered in the market. Cisco Refresh Products, while not “new”, have critical engineering upgrades incorporated and have been remanufactured by Cisco. Cisco Refresh products carry the same warranty and Cisco SMARTnet support options as their new product counterparts. All Cisco Refresh part numbers include the extension“-RF” to help customers clearly identify each product as Cisco Refresh equipment."