The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) is trying to keep a trickle of counterfeit comfort products from becoming a tidal wave.
On a recent visit to China, ARI Chairwoman Deborah Hawkins worked to advance cooperation between ARI and the Chinese air conditioning and refrigeration industry, and with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service to address intellectual property right (IPR) violations in the U.S. and China.
"ARI member companies are eager to work with U.S. and Chinese government officials to ensure protection of intellectual property rights in both our countries," said Hawkins in her remarks during an April 10 industry briefing held prior to the China Refrigeration Exhibition in Shanghai, April 11-13.
"We deeply appreciate the steps that have been taken thus far by the Chinese government, and we stand ready to work with all parties involved on solutions to these issues," Hawkins said.
As part of the briefing, which ARI hosted for its member companies at the exhibition, the U.S. Consulate's Deputy Principal U.S. Foreign Commercial Service officer, Jonathan Heimer, outlined for the group steps the U.S. and Chinese governments have taken to address intellectual property rights violations.
Following the briefing, Hawkins and other industry representatives walked the show floor with Heimer to highlight ARI member products and identify potential IPR violations. ARI staff also met with exhibition organizers to determine how to best address IPR violations in China.
Also as part of her mission to China, Hawkins met with the staff of ARI's counterpart organization, the Chinese Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Industry Association (CRAA), to identify ways the two associations could work in closer collaboration to address IPR issues. One measure discussed was screening for IPR violations before foreign exhibits reach the AHR Expo, the world's largest HVACR trade show event. At this year's expo, held in January in Chicago, ARI members identified counterfeit products bearing their brand, as well as the ARI Performance Certified logo, being exhibited by Chinese companies.
"Even though only a small percentage of goods likely bear a counterfeit ARI Performance Certified seal, ARI works very hard to protect the integrity of its certification program and the integrity of manufacturers whose products undergo the series of rigorous tests necessary to obtain ARI performance certification," said Hawkins, in her meeting with CRAA.
"At stake are the good reputations our manufacturers have with consumers, who count on the reliability of these products to perform as advertised."
To help its member companies protect themselves from counterfeiting, ARI provides guidance on registering products with the U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), coordinating CBP monitoring of their products at U.S. ports, and reporting IPR criminal violations to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement National Intellectual Property Rights Center.
For more information on ARI's IPR protection policy recommendations and other proposals to bolster innovation in the U.S., visit www.ari.org.