Blenders Counter Counterfeiters

As fake products continue to plague Asian markets, Pertamina Lubricants has stepped up its efforts to fight back with legal and preventive measures.

Indonesias Pertamina Lubricants recently filed breach-of-trademark cases at local courts in Banjarmasin, Kalimantan, after finding five incidents of counterfeiting of its products this year and last. But the struggle is ongoing. Just last month, the countrys largest lubricant marketer seized 220 drums of imitation lubricants being hawked in Java.

The company is also investigating other cases of possible counterfeits throughout the country. In the meantime, Corporate Secretary Fitri Erika used local media as a venue to urge consumers to buy directly from Pertaminas authorized distributors.

Pertamina has been taking preventative measures against peddlers of imitation lubes for some time. Last December, it conducted a workshop in conjunction with the countrys Directorate General of Intellectual Property to educate its sales agents and distributors about practices used by lubricant counterfeiters.

Pertamina educated its sales force on regulatory policies and the directorate offices role in counteracting imitation products. The company also invested last year in packaging technologies such as double-sealed lids for pails and other containers and QR codes for labels. The lids are tamper-proof, and the labels can be scanned with a smart phone to indicate to consumers that the products contents are authentic.

Pertamina is hardly alone in the battle as counterfeit lubricants can be found in markets around the world. Bitzer SE, a German refrigeration oils producer, claimed end-users about imitation oils carrying its brand after finding fake products in Vietnam and Korea this year. There were slight differences in the logos, but the name of the lubricant was our original name, a company spokesperson told Lube Report Asia.

In Vietnam, a local company has illegally been declaring and selling containers with low-quality oil as original products from Bitzer, the company warned on its website. They contained oils of inferior quality whose chemical formulation differs greatly from the high quality of the originals. Using the fake product can lead to insufficient lubrication of compressors, chemical reactions, destruction of elastomers and thus great damage.

Japanese industrial lubricants blender Moresco Corp. also found fake Neovac-branded vacuum pump oils being circulated in East Asia and warned users about possible damage the products could cause. The company did not provide further details.

China led a list of countries in Asia with the highest value of counterfeited goods in 2016, according to a report by the Global Intellectual Property Center in the United States. Along with India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea, China and the rest of the region was found to have marketed at least U.S. $300 billion worth of fake products last year.

Photo: Pertamina Lubricants