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ECIA chief operating officer and general counsel, Robin B. Gray, Jr, summarizes the latest moves to remove the risks posed by counterfeit electronic components

A number of industry standards and government regulations are in development in the United States in response to the growing threat of counterfeit electronic components. While these standards and regulations are US‐ centric, the impact is global because many businesses sell in the global marketplace. Global businesses are likely to flow‐down US requirements across the electronics supply chain. Consequently, distributors in other countries should pay attention to these developments.

SAE International, a standards‐setting

organization for the aerospace and automotive industries, has been working on a number of standards for the avoidance, detection, mitigation and disposition of fraudulent/counterfeit electronic parts. These include: AS5553 – which applies to OEMS and users

AS6081 – which applies to independent distributors/brokers

AS6496 – which applies to authorized distributors

AS6171 – which applies to test laboratories of electronics

These standards will initially have

widespread use among aerospace companies in purchasing electronic components. However, as the requirements ‘flow down’ the supply chain, they are likely to spread to other industries and impact all businesses involved in the buying and selling of electronic components.

16 July/August 2014 It is also possible that the standards will

be incorporated into procurement regulations and requirements of the US Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD recently published a rule implementing its anti‐counterfeiting procurement practices. Among the likely requirements in the rule is a provision that companies selling to the DoD should have counterfeit avoidance policies. The proposed rule does not specify the specific content of such policies, so companies will probably turn to the SAE standards.

The DoD recently announced that it will

begin rule‐making proceedings to define the term ‘trusted supplier’. Until a proposal is published, it is unknown what the definition of that term will be.

On June 10, the DoD, the General

Services Administration (GSA) and NASA jointly published proposed amendments to US procurement policies to expand coverage of anti‐counterfeiting efforts beyond electronic parts to all items sold to the Federal government. The proposed expansion would remove compliance exemptions for small businesses, COTS (commercial off‐the‐shelf) items and non‐ CAS covered businesses. The proposal also requires contractors to report nonconforming items to the Government‐ Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP). And, as part of a contractor’s due diligence, the contractor is required to review GIDEP reports before buying items.

ECIA is an active participant and leader in all these endeavors. It chaired the SAE

ECIA chief operating officer and general counsel, Robin B. Gray, Jr.

sub‐committee that developed the standard for authorized distributors (AS6496) and has representatives on other standards committees. In addition, ECIA filed comments when the DoD published its draft regulation regarding the avoidance of counterfeit electronic components.

A customer’s best assurance for getting

genuine electronic parts is to buy from legally authorized sources. A legally authorized source is: the component manufacturer, one of the manufacturer’s authorized distributors, an authorized aftermarket manufacturer or distributor. An authorized distributor or aftermarket manufacturer/distributor is a company that has been contractually authorized to resell items under the terms and conditions set forth in a written distribution agreement. A customer can verify whether a distributor is authorized by going to the manufacturer’s website for a list of its authorized distributors. Customers can find authorized inventory from authorized distributors on a website operated and maintained by ECIA at, the industry’s only website where customers may find only authorized inventory.

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