Successful products are often copied illegally. As a result, product and brand piracy are an issue for STIHL, too. Consumers often end up paying a high price for what they think is a great deal. That’s because the low price for counterfeit saws also means poor durability, poor performance and, most of all, poor safety. However, not all fakes are cheap to buy. In many cases, they are only slightly less expensive than the originals in order to make people believe they are buying real STIHL products.
Counterfeit tools are a major source of danger
STIHL products comply with strict quality and safety standards. But this is not the case with imitations. These tools often stop working properly after just a short time and can no longer be repaired due to a lack of replacement parts. In addition, safety features may be defective or missing entirely. For example, the hand guard for the automatic chain brake, the most important safety feature on a chain saw, was already missing from a counterfeit chain saw when it arrived.
What is STIHL doing?
Counterfeiters have set their sights on STIHL chain saws in particular. Most of the fakes come from China. Due to their orange and light grey colours, they bear a striking resemblance to original STIHL products. In addition, forged stickers with the STIHL brand on them – and sometimes even well-known model names, such as MS 440 – are placed on the products to fool buyers. Except for their colours and model names, these tools have nothing in common with original STIHL chain saws. These imitations usually feature very poor technology. They do not meet the target markets’ legal standards and guidelines and may not be sold there for that reason alone.
With the help of intelligent intellectual property rights management, which includes patents and brands, we are taking steps to combat product and brand piracy in various countries. The STIHL brand name is protected in more than 160 countries. Wherever legally possible, such as in the EU and the USA, the typical colour combination of orange and light grey has also been registered as a colour mark. We have officially requested that customs officials confiscate fakes wherever counterfeit products could cross a border, including in Europe and in China. In the past few years, STIHL has had tens of thousands of counterfeit chain saws confiscated and destroyed, removing fakes worth several million euros from the market.
How can you protect yourself?
In particular, street markets, flea markets and itinerant merchants are always a sure sign of counterfeit, inferior and high-risk products. The same goes for offers of new products online. STIHL sells its tools exclusively through authorised specialist dealers who guarantee original quality, service and expert advice. When you visit your STIHL dealer, you can be sure that you are getting 100-percent STIHL quality, and not just a cheap imitation.
Remember: when in doubt, go to your specialist dealer. We are happy to answer your questions. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org