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Brand Protection & Partnership Integrity


Cisco offers the most dependable, trustworthy partner ecosystem in the IT industry. We drive and maintain ethical business standards and practices through the efforts of our Partnership Integrity team. The team also enables channel sales through strategic governance solutions.

Our Brand Protection team safeguards our partners and our customers from the perils of unauthorized activities. This team helps you sell against what appear to be gray or counterfeit products. Learn the warning signs and protect your business.

Learn more about the Cisco Partnership Integrity Program with these resources:


Cisco's Position Regarding Off-Book Funds

Cisco requires our partners to certify that they have reviewed Cisco's Off-Book Funds training. Learn more about Cisco’s position on the use of Off-Book Funds and access the training below.

Warning Signs

Unauthorized-Channel Warning Signs

  • Products are offered to the end user at a greater discount than is available through authorized channels
  • High-end (restricted) products are offered to an end user by a party that is not entitled to purchase those products through authorized channels
  • End users claim that they buy products through online auctions

Counterfeit Warning Signs

  • Products are offered to the end user at a much greater discount than available for genuine Cisco products
  • Products have Cisco labeling, logos, and trademarks, but their performance and appearance are inconsistent when compared with genuine Cisco products
  • Products are advertised as "Cisco Like," "Cisco Approved," or something similar
  • Refurbished products are from unauthorized channels

Third-Party Component Warning Signs

  • Components do not have Cisco labeling
  • Products are advertised as "Cisco Approved" rather than being actual Cisco products
  • Products were sourced directly from the manufacturer rather than through Cisco

Protect Yourself

Against Unauthorized Channels

It is important to buy Cisco products through authorized sources only, either directly from Cisco (if your contract allows), or from authorized Cisco channels.

If you are working with a price-conscious customer that is considering purchasing from nonauthorized Cisco channels, explain the warranty, support, and software licensing risks to your customers, and the consequences associated with purchasing equipment through unauthorized channels. Consider the Cisco Refresh (Certified Remanufactured) program as an alternative way to earn this customer's business.

To protect yourself:

  • Report observed instances of gray marketing to your Cisco contact
  • Learn to detect early warning signs of unauthorized-channel product sales and involve your Cisco contact immediately to help you address this issue.
  • Report service abuse to protect your business and prevent fraud. Find out more about service abuse and secondary market products.

Against Counterfeit

Counterfeit products can be hardware, software, or documentation where a Cisco logo or intellectual property has been used without the proper consent from Cisco. They often contain inferior components or illegal software, and the quality level is usually suspect. Counterfeit products are often sold at a much greater discount than genuine Cisco products.

To protect yourself:

  • Buy Cisco products through authorized sources only, either directly from Cisco (if your contract allows), or from authorized Cisco channels
  • Avoid buying products at discounts that are much greater than normal discounts offered by Cisco or authorized Cisco channels.
  • Notify Cisco Brand Protection of any suspect activity by clicking the Contact Us link on our Brand Protection site

Additional Assistance

If you would like help understanding the risks to you or your end users when they purchase equipment on the gray market, or equipment that is suspected of being counterfeit or built with third-party components, please notify your Cisco contact or the Cisco Brand Protection Office.

Cisco can also help our valued channel partners to sell against what appears to be gray or counterfeit products.

If you would like to report suspicious products or activities you may do so by:

Phone: 877 571 1700 (North America); 770 776 5611 (collect call outside of North America)