FSA has revealed that private investigators have been called in to tackle a significant rise in counterfeit goods manufacture, some of which are landing in Europe and the USA.
The manufacturer has now announced its registration with eBay's Vero program, in which it can simply contact the online auction site and have goods it believes to be fakes pulled from sale.
A statement made public by FSA reads: "Full Speed Ahead products have grown from an idea into a leading brand in our industry. We take pride in our accomplishments so far, and know that they have been achieved with great effort and energy. We make some of the best products in our industry, and spend countless hours perfecting the designs, testing our products to ensure they meet, or exceed, industry standards, and conduct serious quality assurance. While some may say that imitation is the greatest form of flatery, we take great offense to this piracy, and are committed to actively pursuing the infringers and any re-sellers."
Owners of the performance components brand Tien Hsin Industries Co had noted some counterfeit goods appearing in stores accross Taiwan. Those retailers were staked out by private investigators who have documented deliveries and located some sources of the fakes. Those manufacturers traced are now facing trademark infringement convictions, with penalties including paid restitution or jail time.
In Italy, one European distributor for the brand has found illegal goods for sale on eBay and sold via other online retailers. By following a paper trail to the sellers, FSA S.R.L., has engaged the Financial Police branch of the Italian customs (La Guardia di Finanzia), who conducted several well publicized raids on the premises of the sellers, seizing numerous counterfeit goods, including wheels, handlebars, stems, and seatposts. These sellers were prosecuted under trademark infringement laws, and suffered either serious financial penalties, or incarceration.
A North American distributor based in Washington has since discovered disparities in some goods purchased by consumers on eBay. Clear specification differences were found and concerns were raised about the safety of using the counterfeits. Investigations here have uncovered similarities between these goods and those uncovered in Italy and Taiwan.
The brand concludes: "We also recommend that bike shops only buy Full Speed Ahead products from their recognised bicycle parts distributors, and bicycle brand partners. Again, buying our FSA products from online marketplaces, or from foreign trading sites runs a very high risk that they may be buying a counterfeit product."