Although 2020 presented us with many challenges, there is positive news. SIA announced on October 5 that worldwide sales of semiconductors was $36.2 billion in August 2020, an increase of 3.6% compared to July 2020 and an increase of 4.9% from August 2019.

In other news, several pieces of industry-specific legislation are being proposed in Congress. The American Foundries Act and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act seek to revitalize US semiconductor manufacturing and research and development efforts. Another piece of legislation, the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act, is being proposed to mandate e-commerce platforms to provide greater transparency to consumers and the White House is urging CBP to seize counterfeit goods purchased on e-commerce platforms and impose fines and penalties to e-commerce platforms that assist the flow of counterfeit goods entering the US.

Unfortunately, as it is 2020, there is also a down side. Apple has filed suit against a recycling company that it discovered was reselling scrap product while providing fraudulent certificates of destruction. A major distributor fell prey to a business email compromise scheme, but there is a catch - an endorsement on their insurance policy limited their covered losses - an invaluable lesson for any and all organizations!

These are just a few of the issues we address in this edition of INSIGHT. If you have any topics you would like us to cover, please don't hesitate to contact me at anne@erai.com.

Hoping that you, your families, and coworkers stay safe and healthy!

Anne-Liese Heinichen


According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the American semiconductor industry accounts for 45-50% of global revenues.i However, the US is facing growing competition from China's push for economic independence and its "Made In China 2025" policy. SIA estimates that China will add approximately 40% capacity to its semiconductor manufacturing to supersede the US and become the largest manufacturing source over the next decade.ii

With an increase in Chinese government-backed efforts, the US government is introducing new federal proposals to increase domestic manufacturing operations and provide incentives for companies to establish and return manufacturing to the US.

American Foundries Act of 2020 (AFA) - S.4130:

On June 25, 2020, the American Foundries Act of 2020 was introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Schumer, Jim Risch, Jack Reed, Josh Hawley, Angus King, Susan Collins, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marco Rubio and Doug Jones. The bipartisan legislation aims to boost the US' leadership in microelectronics manufacturing by increasing government investment in domestic manufacturing facilities and requiring domestic sourcing whenever possible.

The legislation proposes spending up to $25 billion in three main areas. Firstly, $15 billion would be allocated for commercial microelectronics manufacturing in the form of grants administered by the US Department of Commerce through the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST). The funds would be used for the creation, expansion or modernization of microelectronics manufacturing facilities including fabrication, assembly, test, and research and development facilities. Another $5 billion in grants would be managed by the Department of Defense for public-private collaboration on the creation, modernization and expansion of microelectronics facilities producing microelectronics for national security and advanced research and development facilities. An additional $5 billion would be allotted for research and development, including $2 billion for DARPA's Electronics Resurgence Initiative, $1.5 billion for the National Science Foundation, $1.25 billion for the Department of Energy and $250 million for NIST.

Additionally, the legislation would require a subcommittee of the President's Council on Science and Technology (PCAST) to provide a yearly report on, "national microelectronics research and development plan to guide and coordinate funding for breakthroughs in next-generation microelectronics research and technology, strengthen the domestic microelectronics workforce, and encourage collaboration between government, industry, and academia."

Senator Schumer cited concerns that US microelectronics production is being challenged by China. Accordingly, the AFA would prohibit entities under foreign ownership, control or influence from China, the Chinese Communist Party or other foreign adversaries from receiving funds provided by the Act. Furthermore, DoD programs, contractors, and subcontractors would be required to source microelectronics design and foundry services domestically, to the extent possible.

Sen. Charles Schumer. Source: Times Union
"The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored...America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry."
Sen. Charles Schumer

Read the proposed legislation:

Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act - H.R.7178 / S.3933:

The CHIPS for America Act is another bipartisan legislation looking to invest billions in semiconductor manufacturing and research and development. Introduced into the Senate by Senators John Cornyn, Mark Warner, James Risch, Marco Rubio, and Krysten Sinema and in the House of Representatives by Representatives Michael McCaul and Doris Matsui, the bill would allocate approximately $22 billion towards the creation of manufacturing and R&D facilities and provides income tax credits for semiconductor equipment and manufacturing facilities through 2026.

The bill specifically earmarks $10 billion in federal matching funds for state and local incentives offered towards the creation of semiconductor foundries with advanced manufacturing capabilities. Another $12 billion in funding would be allotted towards research and development efforts; specifically, $2 billion to implement DARPA's Electronics Resurgence Initiative, $3 billion to the National Science Foundation, $2 billion to the Department of Energy and $2 billion to establish an Advanced Packaging National Manufacturing Institute at the Department of Commerce focused on advanced microelectronic packaging.

Additionally, a 40% income tax credit would be provided for qualified semiconductor manufacturing equipment and facility investments through 2024 with phased out reductions through 2027. Another $750 million over a 10-year period is intended for a consortium with foreign government partners to promote consistent microelectronics policies, transparency in microelectronics supply chains and alignment in policies towards nonmarket economies.

The legislation also directs the President to establish a subcommittee on Semiconductor Leadership through the National Science and Technology Council to develop a national semiconductor expansion strategy. The Department of Defense is also allotted funding towards research and development, training, evaluation and other activities associated with semiconductor technologies to build secure defense supply chains.

Rep. Michael McCaul. Source: Wikipedia
""Ensuring our leadership in the future design, manufacturing, and assembly of cutting edge semiconductors will be vital to United States national security and economic competitiveness. As the Chinese Communist Party aims to dominate the entire semiconductor supply chain, it is critical that we supercharge our industry here at home."
Rep. Michael McCaul.

Read the proposed legislation:

i Varas, A., Varadarajan, R., Goodrich, J., & Yinug, F. (2020). Government Incentives and US Competitiveness in Semiconductor Manufacturing. BCG x SIA. https://www.semiconductors.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Government-Incentives-and-US-Competitiveness-in-Semiconductor-Manufacturing-Sep-2020.pdf
ii Ibid, 1.


Source: White House Website

On October 14, 2020, on Amazon's "Prime Day", President Trump issued a Memorandum on Stopping Counterfeit Trafficking on E-Commerce Platforms Through Fines and Civil Penalties.

The memo instructs the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Patrol and the Attorney General to seize counterfeit goods connected to a transaction on an e-commerce platform being imported into the United States and impose maximum fines and civil penalties on e-commerce platforms that direct, assist, or "is in any way concerned in the importation into the United States of counterfeit goods".

Furthermore, the Secretary of Homeland Security is directed to develop a legislative proposal within 120 days to further the objectives of the President as outlined in the memorandum.


A new proposal in the US Senate would require online marketplaces to verify the identity of high-volume third-party sellers by providing government ID, tax ID, bank account and contact information. Sellers would be required to disclose to customers their name, address, email, phone number and whether the seller is a manufacturer, importer or reseller. A high-volume seller would be defined as a seller with 200 or more sales in a one-year period totaling more than $5,000.00. Online marketplaces would also need to establish hotlines to allow consumers to report suspicious activity, including suspect counterfeit product.

ERAI, Inc.
A: ANYONE. Membership to ERAI is not required.

We have made the process as simple as possible by offering two ways to report parts:

1. Report a part online at: https://www.erai.com/submit_high_risk_part_public
2. Or even simpler, email your report to reportparts@erai.com

Please note that you can report parts anonymously. We will not include your company name on an alert. You do not have to report the supplier that shipped you counterfeit devices unless you choose to. The major benefit to the industry at large is knowing there is a suspect counterfeit part out there.


On August 27, 2020, NASA published the final rule of the NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Supplement: Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Parts (NFS Case 2017-N010). The objective of the rule is to implement section 823 of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 which required NASA to revise the NASA Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to, "improve the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts in the supply chain." The new regulation went into effect on September 28, 2020. The rule applies to covered contractors and is intended to be flowed down to their subcontractors. Covered contractors are defined as, "by Public Law 115–10 are contractors, including small entities, that supply an electronic part, or a product that contains an electronic part to NASA" and will apply to all classes of small business.

For parts currently in production, the rule means that the government, its contractors, and subcontractors at all tiers are required to purchase parts, including those contained in an assembly, from three sources:
  • the original component manufacturer of the part
  • an OCM-authorized supplier (including aftermarket manufacturers with contractual agreements or authority from the OCM) or
  • suppliers who "obtain such parts exclusively from the original manufacturers of the parts or their authorized dealers."

For parts not currently in production, the parts must be purchased from a NASA-identified or contractor-approved supplier. The contractor then assumes responsibility for the authenticity of the parts, is required to perform inspection, testing and authentication of the parts, and is to obtain traceability information and provide it to the contracting officer upon request. Selection of a contractor-approved supplier is subject to review and audit by the contracting officer.

Although the rule does not include a GIDEP reporting requirement, a requirement is included to notify the contracting officer within 30 calendar days after the date when the contractor, "becomes aware, or has reason to suspect, that any end item, component, part or material contained in supplies purchased by NASA, or purchased by a covered contractor or subcontractor for delivery to, or on behalf of, NASA, contains a counterfeit electronic part or suspect counterfeit electronic part."

Additionally, the rule establishes that costs related to suspect counterfeit and counterfeit parts and corrective action or costs of rework are unallowable unless the following criteria are met: the covered contractor has a counterfeit parts detection and avoidance system that has been reviewed and approved by NASA; the covered contractor, including a subcontractor, notifies the contracting officer in writing of the discovery of the suspect/counterfeit part within 30 days; or the suspect/counterfeit parts were provided to the contractor as Government property in accordance with part 45 of the FAR.

On September 24, 2020, Anthony Rogers, procurement Quality Assurance lead at Armstrong Flight Research Center, discussed the new regulation supplement, including the timeline for implementation, definitions, and what the relationship between NASA and its supplier partners looks like moving forward for electronic parts procurement.

According to Rogers, there are some key differences between the DFARS and the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS).
1 The definition of electronic part varies. The NFS defines an electronic part as, "a discrete electronic component, including a microcircuit, transistor, capacitor, resistor or diode, that is intended for use in a safety or mission critical application". This NFS definition is similar to the DoD definition; however, the scope is narrowed by the addition of the safety or mission critical requirement.
2 According to Rogers, the DFARS requires contractors to have a counterfeit electronic part detection and avoidance system; however, the NFS does not require the covered contractor to have a counterfeit detection and avoidance system to do business with NASA but it is a requirement for cost considerations for the inclusion of suspect/counterfeit parts and any corrective actions associated with it.
3 If a contractor provides counterfeit parts and corrective action is necessary, unlike the DFARS, the NFS requires an adequate corrective action strategy to prevent another counterfeit escape.
4 There is a minor difference in notification if a contractor or its subcontractors becomes aware that a counterfeit part was supplied to NASA. The NFS has a specific 30-day notification requirement, while the DFARS does not set a timeframe.
5 The NFS rule does not include a GIDEP reporting requirement for the contractor in the event that a counterfeit part is discovered; DFARS Section 252.246-7007 does have a GIDEP reporting requirement. However, recent changes to the FAR do cover notification to GIDEP.

All organizations supplying product to NASA and/or their contractors are encouraged to review the final rule to ensure your company and products meet the latest NASA requirements.

Watch the video:

Read the regulation:


While a large focus in the industry remains on the dangers posed by counterfeit parts such as product failures, increased program costs, reduced reliability, lost revenue, brand damage and other financial losses, the (not so simple) definition of a counterfeit electronic part is not often discussed. In some cases, no established definition for a counterfeit electronic part exists. Instead, reliance is on a broader, more general definition of a counterfeit good or counterfeit product. Definitions also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, between governments and industry, and even between organizations. While there likely is consensus throughout the industry on specific criteria that define a counterfeit electronic part, discordance and inconsistency between governments, their agencies and the broader supply chain produce their own set of challenges.

Let's look at a few counterfeit definitions:

In the United States, the federal criminal code 18 USC Section 2320 (f) (1) defines a counterfeit mark as, "(1) the term "counterfeit mark" means - (A) a spurious mark - (i) that is used in connection with trafficking in any goods, services, labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hangtags, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature; (ii) that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a mark registered on the principal register in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in use, whether or not the defendant knew such mark was so registered; (iii) that is applied to or used in connection with the goods or services for which the mark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or is applied to or consists of a label, patch, sticker, wrapper, badge, emblem, medallion, charm, box, container, can, case, hangtag, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature that is designed, marketed, or otherwise intended to be used on or in connection with the goods or services for which the mark is registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; and (iv) the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive; or (B) a spurious designation that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a designation as to which the remedies of the Lanham Act are made available by reason of section 220506 of title 36; but such term does not include any mark or designation used in connection with goods or services, or a mark or designation applied to labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hangtags, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature used in connection with such goods or services, of which the manufacturer or producer was, at the time of the manufacture or production in question, authorized to use the mark or designation for the type of goods or services so manufactured or produced, by the holder of the right to use such mark or designation".

United States defense acquisition DFARS Section 252.246-7007 (a) specifically defines the terms for DoD acquisitions contracts for electronic parts: "counterfeit electronic part means an unlawful or unauthorized reproduction, substitution, or alteration that has been knowingly mismarked, misidentified, or otherwise misrepresented to be an authentic, unmodified electronic part from the original manufacturer, or a source with the express written authority of the original manufacturer or current design activity, including an authorized aftermarket manufacturer. Unlawful or unauthorized substitution includes used electronic parts represented as new, or the false identification of grade, serial number, lot number, date code, or performance characteristics."

Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 Concerning Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights used by countries in the European Union defines a counterfeit good as, "goods which are the subject of an act infringing a trade mark in the Member State where they are found and bear without authorization a sign which is identical to the trade mark validly registered in respect of the same type of goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trade mark."

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense or MOD has developed a definition for counterfeits for those supplying to the MOD. The definition is found in the UK MOD Defense Standard DEF STAN 05-135 titled "Avoidance of Counterfeit Materiel": "Counterfeit Materiel: Materiel whose origin, age, composition, configuration, certification status or other characteristic (including whether or not the materiel has been used previously) has been falsely represented by: misleading marking of the materiel, labeling or packaging; b) misleading documentation; or c) any other means, including failing to disclose information; except where it has been demonstrated that the misrepresentation was not the result of dishonesty by a supplier or sub-supplier within the supply chain."

SAE's Aerospace Standard AS5553C specifically defines a counterfeit EEE part as: "1. An unauthorized (a) copy, (b) imitation, (c) substitute, or (d) modified EEE part, which is knowingly, recklessly, or negligently misrepresented as a specified genuine item from an original component manufacturer or authorized aftermarket manufacturer; or 2. A previously used EEE part which has been modified and is knowingly, recklessly, or negligently misrepresented as new without disclosure to the customer that it has been previously used."

Early Legislation Lacked Specificity for Electronic Parts
In 2009, SAE published AS5553 to specifically address counterfeit electronic parts. In the US, concern specifically over counterfeit electronic parts in the defense chain of supply began in 2007 culminating in a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing in late 2011 which found that over a 3-year period, over one million electronic parts were found in the defense supply chain. The 2012 National Defense Act (NDAA) Section 818 subsequently required the Secretary of Defense to, "establish Department-wide definitions of the terms "counterfeit electronic part" and "suspect counterfeit electronic part"." In 2014, DFARS Section 252.246-7007 (a) provided a definition for a counterfeit electronic part.
Intellectual Property Infringement – Mark vs. Design
Several definitions address counterfeiting as an intellectual property violation through the misuse of a company's registered marks. Currently, US Customs and Border Protection policies allow for action against product and packaging that violate a copyright or trademark (intellectual property rights infringements). In December of 2019, new legislation was introduced in the US Senate: S.2987 – Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019 that, if passed, would allow CBP to seize imported products that violate design patent rights. Meaning, instead of seizing product for bearing a spurious mark, CPB would be entitled to deem product whose physical characteristics violate design patent rights as counterfeit.
Representation - New vs. Used Parts and Fraud
Some definitions do not address used parts that are misrepresented as "new". The 2012 NDAA, Section 818 also required the Secretary of Defense to, "include previously used parts represented as new [as counterfeit]." However, as AS5553 acknowledges, "used EEE parts sold as new that have not been modified are not counterfeit, according to some civil and criminal statutes. These issues are covered under existing laws covering fraud. For civil matters, this issue would typically be covered under civil fraud and terms and conditions of a purchase order or contract that specifies EEE parts must be new". The standard does clarify that parts that have been, "refinished, upscreened, or uprated, and have been identified as such, are not considered counterfeit."

Counterfeit electronic parts have been found in every facet of the industry in every corner of the globe in both the commercial and high-reliability sectors, spanning the range from inexpensive capacitors to expensive microprocessors. Continued industry and government collaboration and standardization between stakeholders is critical to minimize the impact posed by counterfeit electronic parts.


Source: Future Electronics

On September 29, 2020, the Quebec Superior Court rendered a ruling in Future Electronics Inc. (Distribution) Pte Ltd. v. Chubb Insurance Company of Canada. The authorized distributor was seeking to recover nearly $2.7 million in losses after Singapore-based accounts payable staff were tricked into wiring funds to an imposter's bank account.

The loss was the result of business email compromise, an example of social engineering fraud. Between October 2016 and January 2017, an impostor was able to impersonate the CFO of Future’s supplier, Exar, and managed to convince Future Singapore employees to wire transfer funds into imposter accounts located in Asia. The imposter communicated with the Future employees primarily via email; however, one or two conversations occurred by telephone.

The first communication from the imposter was on October 21 when a Future employee received an email allegedly from Keith Tainsky, CFO of Exar. The email was sent from Keith_Tainsky@exar.com, which, unbeknownst to the Future employee, was not Mr. Tainsky's correct email address. Court documents note, "it was the first time Ms. Soh received an email from the "CFO" of Exar". Subsequent communications contained new wire instructions for payments for invoice amounts owed by Future to Exar to an account owned by Golden Forest World Company Limited. As Future's policy required an official letter for bank account modifications, an email was received containing the requested "official letter" which was subsequently approved by a Future finance staff supervisor. On November 10, a Future employee emailed a listing of invoices to the imposter Mr. Tainsky and sent a bank transfer totaling $347,426.46 the same day. The following day a Future employee made a telephone call to the imposters after they made a payment inquiry. On November 23, another wire for invoices totaling $406,027.41 was sent to Golden Forest. Once again, in December, another list of invoices was sent to the imposter and another wire transfer totaling $533,577.96 was sent to Golden Forest.

In January of 2017, the imposter maintained contact with Future staff regarding payment status. On January 9, the imposter notified Future they were closing their accounts with Chiyu Banking Corp and had requested Chiyu Banking to proceed with a refund of $533,577.96 to Future's account. During the following week, Future staff communicated via email with the imposter stating the refund had not been received.

In late January 2017, the imposter notified Future that the beneficiary provided on new wire instructions previously provided on January 9 had to be changed as Future intended on making an upcoming payment. Once again, Future was provided with an "official letter" changing the bank beneficiary to Star Fortune Asia Ltd. On January 25, Future provided the imposter with a wire transfer showing a payment to the new account totaling $1,406,918.94. As of this date, Future had not received the alleged January refund totaling $533,577.96.

On January 28, Future received a complaint from Exar's usual contact stating that multiple invoices were more than 90 days past due. Future notified Exar they had made a November payment per Keith Tainsky's instructions: Future was informed by Exar that the email address was incorrect, none of the correspondence Future had received from Mr. Tainsky was legitimate, and Exar demanded payment for the overdue invoices.

On February 20, 2017, after discovering they were victimized, Future submitted an insurance claim to Chubb Insurance under its crime insurance policy. Chubb refused to remunerate Future for the full amount of the loss totaling $2,693,950.77 as the company had limited coverage under a Social Engineering Fraud endorsement to its policy; Chubb did agree to pay $50,000, the sublimit provided by the endorsement. Future refused to accept the payment and filed suit against Chubb.

Justice Suzanne Courchesne ruled that the loss fell under Chubb's social engineering fraud endorsement which was subject to a $50,000 limit and was not covered under the company's Computer Fraud and Funds Transfer Fraud insuring agreement, which had a $25 million limit, as it did not provide coverage for losses caused by the deceitful information contained in the emails sent by the imposter.

TIP ERAI members should routinely review their insurance policies, including any social engineering fraud endorsements that contain fraud scenario restrictions as they may provide lesser coverage limits.

View the judgment:


By: Beem Patent Law Firm
Source: Prosyscom Tech News

The situation: You have a business website. A scammer copies it. They use your images. Your text. Pictures and names of your people. Their fraudulent site looks just like your real site. Indeed, their crime starts with website “spoofing,” and it usually involves a spoofed URL—similar to your real URL.

The need to act: Now, what are you going to do about the fake website? You must act quickly! Some fake websites are operated for only a few hours—creating immediate havoc with long term consequences—before the scammer moves on to the next target. More than one million fake websites are created every month, causing billions of dollars in losses every year. You must act immediately to protect your business and your customers.

Take down the cybercriminals

As a wrestler, I like takedowns. Even better, I like to proceed to a quick pin, which wins and ends the match instantly. The same approach applies in dealing with scammers. One must know the moves—the attacks and the counters—and one must execute swiftly and surely.

These scams and spoofs are not games. The scammers are committing big-time fraud, which is both a crime and a tort. Most of these rackets are run outside American borders, under aliases, and it’s hard to find the scammers, let alone apprehend and prosecute them. Nor will you want to wait for a final judgment to be rendered in the ordinary course of civil litigation.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, losses to the global economy from all forms of cybercrime are measured in the millions of dollars per minute—in the trillions per year—and they’re still increasing rapidly.

The FBI receives complaints. You should file one—it can’t hurt—but don’t rely on the Bureau to prevent or take down the fake website. They have their hands full with scores of most-wanted cybercriminals, and there must be a thousand times as many active scammers whose frauds have not yet earned them a place on the most-wanted list.

For purposes of this article, we’re concerned mainly with minimizing losses to you, your business, and your customers. You will need to take the initiative to stop any current Internet fraud and to prevent it from occurring or reoccurring.

3 steps for cybercriminals to spoof your website

In a flash, scammers typically make a few small yet significant changes to your content:
  • They register a domain name, adopting a spoofed URL, that may differ only slightly from yours;
  • They copy your code-names, images and all-and make slight changes to phone numbers and email addresses; and
  • As impostors, they start to present themselves as you on the internet and in emails.
Now, web and email traffic, inquiries, confidential information, and orders intended for you are diverted to the scammers.

4 reasons scammers copy your website

Internet scammers, including those who present fake websites, can have any number of nefarious motives. They might be:
  • Holding you up to pay them to transfer the fake domain name to you;
  • Siphoning sales from you and delivering fake merchandise to your customers;
  • Phishing for confidential information like social security numbers, account numbers, passwords, or medical records for their own illegal use or sale anywhere, such as on the "dark web"; and/or
  • Committing financial crimes—stealing money from you and your customers.
One thing you can be sure of: The scammers are up to no good. And their fraud committed in your name is bad for your business.

Your company’s website could be spoofed

You think it couldn’t happen to you? Think again. It costs about $10 to purchase a domain name from a registrar, and it takes only seconds to copy a website’s code. Stolen images and fake websites abound. Top fashion brands are popular targets. We handle such cases in federal court. But even lower profile businesses—perhaps your company is in this category—can be unsuspecting, making easier targets.

Big tech firms like Facebook, Apple, and Google, and financial companies like Chase and Wells Fargo, are targets of fake website scammers. So are luxury brands like Tiffany and Ray-Ban.

Some of the most sophisticated M&A law firms in New York, and their corporate clients, have been victimized by fake website scammers. The ABA Journal suggests that the scammers were sniffing for M&A deal information. Perhaps they were seeking to reap illegal profits in the stock market based on inside information.

Smaller businesses and law firms also are targets.

Ultimately, if you have any kind of successful business, you are a target for a fake website scammer.

We have dealt with fake website frauds—nipped them in the bud—on behalf of our clients.

7 steps to take against a scammer who copies your website:

In short, call your intellectual property (IP) lawyer—with specific experience in handling domain name disputes—who can act quickly to take the following key steps on your behalf.
  1. Quickly gather and assess the facts. See if you can identify the scammers behind the fake domain name. Unfortunately, the scammers are probably hiding their true identity, which they are permitted to do, for the sake of "privacy." Next best: Identify the registrar of the fake domain name and the host of the fake website servers. This involves use of a WHOIS lookup, which is "not at all intuitive," as admitted by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for managing the Domain Name System (DNS).
  2. Create a record of the fraud. File a complaint with the FBI and your local police department. As with most internet content, a simple click can make the fake website and all of its contents disappear without a trace. A record of the fraud will become useful.
  3. Prepare and send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice and takedown request to the host of the fraudulent website, especially if they’re in the U.S. Here again, the scammers are probably devious enough to use a host located outside the U.S., i.e., beyond the reach of the DMCA, which is a U.S. statute.
  4. Send a request to Google informing them of the copyright infringement and asking that they remove the scammer from their search results. This might take a few days or more—they receive over a million DMCA takedown requests every day. Needless to say, the first thing Google looks for is a complete DMCA request, including proof that you are the copyright owner. Don't give the scammers precious time to steal from your business or your customers.
  5. If you have a trademark, you can prepare and file a complaint under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) with ICANN. A complainant in a UDRP proceeding must establish likelihood of confusion between the fake domain name and your trademark and that the domain name is being used in bad faith. (If you haven't registered your trademark, you should do so.) Successful claimants in a UDRP action can have the fake domain name transferred to them, so they can shut it down and prevent further fraudulent use.
  6. These steps probably will suffice to shut down the particular fake website—the specific URL— and, depending on the situation, maybe that’s all you need. But they won’t necessarily stop the scammer from popping up with another URL, and they won’t recover damages or legal expenses. For that kind of relief, we can file a complaint in federal court to obtain a restraining order and freeze accounts.
  7. Take action to prevent or deter future scams. Watch for trademark filings and domain name registrations. We set up these kinds of watches for our clients. Monitor activity on social media. Consider using Google Alerts to identify references to your company and your brands, including competitive or fraudulent activity.

In sum, shut the fake website down. Score a quick takedown. Pin the scammers. As you can see, you might need an IP lawyer to take the right steps quickly and surely. Call us. We can help you nip the fraud in the bud.

This article was first published on October 14, 2020 at:


Although many consumers eagerly support recycling efforts, most are blissfully unaware of the pitfalls surrounding electronic waste, or e-waste. While there are recycling companies that will strip and recycle used electronics in a responsible manner, there are many unscrupulous companies that will ship and/or resell e-waste to countries in Asia and Africa for unmonitored and uncontrolled "processing", becoming a source for counterfeiters to remark parts for re-introduction into the supply chain.

As Apple recently discovered, a Canadian company hired to recycle approximately 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches instead allegedly resold the products for financial gain. Apple’s signed agreement with GEEP Canada required the destruction and demanufacture of the devices within 45 days of receipt. Additionally, GEEP was required to follow set policies and procedures for receiving, storing, monitoring and recycling the devices and provide certificates of destruction to Apple.

Instead, GEEP has been accused by Apple in an Ontario, Canada court of hiding the Apple devices out of security cameras’ views, mislabeling the devices as “copper bearings”, and shipping them to third parties for profit. The third parties then repaired and resold the devices as functioning Apple product to unsuspecting consumers.

Apple also contends that GEEP employees doctored shipping records to account for the weight of the missing devices.

Apple discovered the devices when they were activated on Chinese cellular networks. While the estimate is at 100,000 devices, accurate counts could not be obtained as some of the devices that were not cellular enabled could not be electronically discovered. From January 2015 to December 2017 Apple's records indicate nearly 532,000 iPhones, over 25,000 iPads and over 19,000 Apple Watches were sent to GEEP.

Apple alleges lost profits of approximately $22.6 million from the resale of their products and injury to Apple's brand and trademarks. The company is also seeking approximately $750,000 in punitive damages as well as the funds received by GEEP as a result of the sale of the devices.

In court filings, GEEP claims three former “rogue employees” were the parties responsible for the theft and resale. GEEP states they have filed suit against the three individuals and another recycling company, Whitby Recycling, to whom the goods were sold to hold them responsible if a judgement is entered against them in the Apple case. Quantum Lifecycle Partners, a new company formed by GEEP and the Shift Group of Companies, purchased the assets and certain liabilities of GEEP and Shift in 2019 but stated that, "the Apple lawsuit was a liability that GEEP Canada maintained and Quantum didn't assume."

Apple contends that GEEP’s senior management confirmed that their managers were instructing employees to “misplace” the devices and ship them to vendors in exchange for kickbacks. GEEP officials dispute the claim.

i https://resource-recycling.com/e-scrap/2020/10/08/the-details-on-apples-lawsuit-against-geep-canada/.


On July 22, 2020, eleven Chinese entities and their aliases were added to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List which includes persons for whom there is reasonable cause to believe that they have/are involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The Export Administration Regulations impose additional license requirements on and limits the availability of most license exceptions for exports, reexports and transfers to listed entities.

Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security
15 CFR Part 744
[Docket No. 200715-0192] RIN 0694-AI15 
Addition of Certain Entities to the Entity List; Revision of Existing Entries on the Entity List
AGENCY: Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce. 
ACTION: Final rule. 

Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-07-22/pdf/2020-15827.pdf

Summary: This final rule amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding eleven entities to the Entity List. These eleven entities have been determined by the United States Government to be acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States and will be listed on the Entity List under the destination of the People’s Republic of China (China). This rule also modifies or revises thirty-seven existing entries on the Entity List under the destination of China.

Dates: This rule is effective July 22, 2020.

ERC Entity List Decisions
Additions to the Entity List

Pursuant to § 744.11(b) of the EAR, the ERC has determined that the conduct of these eleven entities raises sufficient concern that prior review of exports, reexports or transfers (in country) of all items subject to the EAR involving these entities, and the possible imposition of license conditions or license denials on shipments to these entities, will enhance BIS’s ability to prevent items subject to the EAR from being used in activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States. For the eleven entities identified above that are being added to the Entity List, BIS imposes a license requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a license review policy of case-by-case review for Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) 1A004.c, 1A004.d, 1A995, 1A999.a, 1D003, 2A983, 2D983, and 2E983. A policy of case-by-case review also applies to items designated as EAR99 that are described in the Note to ECCN 1A995, specifically, items for protection against chemical or biological agents that are consumer goods, packaged for retail sale or personal use, or medical products. Additionally, in light of the current global pandemic, BIS has adopted a policy of case-by-case review for items subject to the EAR that are necessary to detect, identify and treat infectious disease. BIS has adopted a license review policy of presumption of denial for all other items subject to the EAR. For all eleven entities, the license requirements apply to any transaction in which items are to be exported, reexported, or transferred (in country) to any of the entities. In addition, no license exceptions are available for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to the entities being added to the Entity List in this rule. The acronym ‘‘a.k.a.’’ or ‘also known as’ is used in entries on the Entity List to identify aliases, thereby assisting exporters, reexporters and transferors in identifying entities on the Entity List.

ERAI recommends US-based organizations consult an export control/regulations professional prior to shipping product to any of the below named entities.

Beijing Sensetime Technology Development Co., Ltd.
CloudWalk Technology
Dahua Technology
FiberHome Technologies Group
Fiberhome StarrySky Co., Ltd.
Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd.
Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd.
Megvii Technology Ltd.
Nanchang Oufeiguang Technology Co., Ltd
NetPosa Technologies Ltd.
Shanghai Isvision Technologies Co., Ltd.
Shenzhen Yuntian Lifei Technology Co., Ltd.
Yitu Technologies


Chong Sik Yu ("Chris Yu") and Yunseo Lee Arrest

On August 6, 2020, Chong Sik Yu (“Chris Yu”) and Yunseo Lee were arrested and charged with conspiring to unlawfully export dual-use components, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

The US Government alleges that starting in June 2019, Yu and Lee, operating as America Techma Inc (“ATI”), illegally exported electronic components listed on the Commerce Control List without an export license to Hong Kong for apparent re-export to China, among others. The components included, “those that could make a significant contribution to the military potential of other nations, and that could be detrimental to the foreign policy or national security of the United States.” The Government’s investigation revealed that Yu and Lee were allegedly aware that electronic components, telecommunication components and sensors being sold to an unnamed Hong Kong company required an export license and made specific efforts to conceal the shipments’ contents.

According to the criminal complaint, in June of 2019, ATI purchased part number EV10AQ190AVTPY from an unnamed US supplier, who classified the component with an ECCN number indicating the part was export-controlled and required a license for export to Hong Kong and China. On June 21, 2019, Yu and Lee received an email from an unnamed Hong Kong trading company seeking to procure the parts and offering to send ESD bags to ATI to protect the parts during shipping. On June 26, $104,202.00 was wire transferred from the Hong Kong company to a US-held bank account belonging to ATI. ATI subsequently shipped the parts to Hong Kong allegedly without applying for a license to export the controlled components.

In January 2020 Yu and Lee were once again contacted by the same unnamed Hong Kong company seeking to procure unnamed parts and providing specific instructions on how to package the shipment and prepare documentation listing an incorrect part number to avoid detection and detention by government authorities. On January 16, 2020, US law enforcement inspected a shipment en route to the unnamed Hong Kong company which again contained export-controlled parts. At law enforcement’s direction, the shipment was diverted by the shipping company to redo customs clearance, prompting the Hong Kong company to instruct ATI to recall the shipment as, “some of the parts has been relabeled with false part numbers.” Starting in February, ATI allegedly then began shipping parts to its office in South Korea in an effort to avoid detection by US customs officials.

In total ATI received approximately 18 wire transfers from the unnamed Hong Kong company totaling $809,238.00.

If convicted of the charges, Yu and Lee face a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to unlawfully export dual-use electronic components, 30 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to commit money laundering.

"The Department's fight against illegal technology transfer to China is no more critical than in areas like those involved in this case - controlled items used in missile and nuclear technology."

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers

Further Reading:

Amin Mahdavi and Parthia Cargo LLC Charges

On August 19, 2020, Amin Mahdavi, an Iranian citizen, and Parthia Cargo LLC, a United Arab Emirates-based freight forwarding company, were charged in a sealed complaint with conspiring to defraud the United States and to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSRs).

According to a government affidavit, Mahdavi, while working as the Managing Director of Parthia Cargo, facilitated shipments of goods, including those manufactured in the United States, from UAE to Iran in violation of US sanctions on Iran. In particular, in August of 2017, an unnamed company in Iran sought to purchase a US-origin commercial aircraft part from a non-US based company, who subsequently purchased the part from a US aircraft supply organization. The US supplier was assured in writing by an employee of the non-US based company that the parts would not be re-exported to Iran unless authorized by the United States government. The items were delivered to the non-US based company and arrangements were made by Mahdavi for the parts to be shipped to Parthia Cargo in the UAE for intended reshipment to Iran.

The government alleges that Mahdavi had been informed that the part originated in the United States and, based on previous discussions with Mahdavi, knew that Mahdavi was aware of the US sanctions and had admitted that Parthia Cargo primarily did business with Iran. According to the affidavit, Mahdavi told a government official that he was, “an Iranian patriot who felt concern for the airline passengers in Iran as the majority of the commercial aircraft there were over 20 years old”. Mahdavi, Parthia Cargo and their co-conspirators sought to gain profits through misleading the US government and evading regulations and licensing requirements.

If convicted, Mahdavi faces 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Parthia Cargo faces a fine of up to $500,000.

Concurrently with the charges filed against Mahdavi and Parthia Cargo, the government filed action against Delta Parts Supply FZC, a UAE-based company. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Amin Mahdavi, Parthia Cargo and Delta Parts Supply FZC for support of Mahan Air, an Iranian airline designated for support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quods Force (IRGC-QF). OFAC stated, “the services provided by Parthia Cargo and Delta Parts Supply FZC help Mahan Air sustain its fleet of western-manufactured aircraft and allow it to support the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda through activities that include the transportation of terrorists and lethal cargo to Syria to prop up the murderous Assad regime, as well as the more recent transportation of Iranian technicians and technical equipment to Venezuela to support the illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to revive energy production ruined by corruption and mismanagement.”

Amin Mahdavi, Parthia Cargo and Delta Parts Supply FZC have been designated according to E.O. 13224 for their support of Mahan Air. All property and interests in the United States or in possession or control of US persons belonging to these entities must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

Source: Wikipedia
"Iran evades the U.S. embargo resulting from their malicious activities with the collaboration of those who pose as innocent buyers, but who are ready to send the products on to their forbidden destination."

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers

Further Reading:

Hang Chen ("Henry" Chen) Sentencing

Lixiong Chen. Source: The Mercury News
Hang Chen, aka Henry Chen, was sentenced on July 15, 2020 to four months’ imprisonment for trafficking in counterfeit goods. Along with co-defendant Lixiong Chen, aka John Chen, Hang Chen operated various businesses in Newark, California named CBK Auto, CBK Holdings, Inc., CBK Wholesale, CBK USA and Silicon Electronics. According to the government, although the companies had separate names, they were all operated as one organization named “CBK”. The defendants used websites, including www.bestcompu.com and www.cbkelectronics.com, and sold product on eBay and Amazon.

From January 2012 through January 2019, the defendants allegedly imported goods that did not bear counterfeit marks and separately imported labels bearing counterfeit marks in order to avoid detection by Customs and Border Patrol. They then directed warehouse staff to apply the counterfeit labels to the generic items before shipping them to customers. As part of the scheme, Lixiong Chen and Hang Chen carefully supervised the language contained in eBay and Amazon listings to avoid detection by the trademark holders by ensuring that the trademarks were blurred or otherwise covered in photographs accompanying listings on the ecommerce platforms. The goods included batteries, mobile phone screens and power adapters with counterfeit labels from brands such as Microsoft, Blackberry, Underwriters Laboratory, Motorola, Philips, Sanrio, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard (“HP”).

In June of 2013, a CBK employee alerted Lixiong and Hang to a letter sent by HP which included a cease and desist notice. In the notice, the employee stated, “I was worried about this: Issue months ago when I just realized our Original HP is not original! I request again that the Shenzhen warehouse make the best effort possible to check every label of OEM adapters that are changed for spelling issue…that attracted HP to investigate our account more closely.”

The following year, communications between Hang Chen and Lixiong Chen described how labels would be changed after arriving into the US to avoid confiscation by US Customs and specified that the counterfeit labels should be shipped separately to avoid detection.

Hang Chen subsequently pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods and aiding and abetting in December of 2019 and was scheduled to report for imprisonment on August 28, 2020 for a four-month prison term. In addition, he is sentenced to 3-years’ supervised released, a fine in the amount of $75,000 and restitution of $137,030.10, including restitution to Hewlett-Packard totaling $63,505.57.

Lixiong Chen is believed to have boarded a flight from Tijuana, Mexico to Beijing, China the day before his scheduled trial despite being subject to passport controls and travel restrictions. A judgment was entered in his absence in the amount of $1 million in favor of the US government.

Further Reading:

Joyce Eliabachus aka Joyce Marie Gundran Manangan Sentencing

Eliabachus residence, Morristown, NJ. Source: Google Maps.
On June 11, 2019, Joyce Marie Eliabachus aka Joyce Marie Gundran Manangan, principal of Edsun Equipments LLC, an aviation parts trading company, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) for her role in a network involved in smuggling aircraft components to Iran. On October 6, 2020, Eliabachus was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment along with one year of supervised release.

It is the contention of the US Government that Eliabachus, Iranian citizen Peyman Amiri Larijani, and other conspirators formed, “part of an illicit, international procurement network that is designed to surreptitiously acquire large quantities of aircraft components from United States manufacturers and vendors, and to unlawfully export those parts to entities in Iran…[the] network has obtained and exported over $2 million worth of aircraft components from the United States to Iranian business entities in violation of export control laws.”

Joyce Eliabachus, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Philippines, allegedly operated Edsun Equipments, LLC aka Edsun Equipments Ltd out of her New Jersey home. Peyman Amiri Larijani owned an Iranian procurement company and was the operations and sales manager of Kral Havacilik IC VE DIS Ticaret Sirketi (Kral Aviation), a Turkey-based company. According to the criminal complaint, from May 2015 through October 2017 Eliabachus provided Larijani and other Iranian conspirators with access to Edsun’s account to an online aircraft parts database through which purchases were made, concealing the identity of the true end user(s). These end users included: Mahan Air Co, Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines, Caspian Airlines, Kish Air, Atrak Air, Iran Air Tours, ATA Airlines and Karun Airlines. Among the parts purchased were aircraft brake assemblies, rotor assembly parts, and a series of other unspecified aircraft parts.

The parts were then sent to Edsun in New Jersey where Eliabachus used freight forwarding services to send the parts to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to organizations such as Parthia Cargo and Reibel Tasimacilik Ve Tic A.S., while falsifying the true value of the cost of goods, the destination, and/or the end user of the components, without obtaining the necessary export licenses. Upon arrival, Larijani and other Iranian co-conspirators then transported the parts on to the end users in Iran. In turn, Eliabachus profited financially through millions of dollars which were funneled through various Turkish bank accounts held in the name of shell companies controlled by the Iranian conspirators.

In total, the government estimates that Eliabachus, Larijani, and other conspirators were responsible for at least 49 shipments containing 23,554 license-controlled aircraft parts being exported from the United States to Iran without required licenses.

Charges are still pending against Larijani.

Further Reading:


Government Incentives and US Competitiveness in Semiconductor Manufacturing

Why you should read it: The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) together with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released a study showing that US government investment into semiconductor manufacturing would increase chip production by adding as many as 19 major fabs and up to 70,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

ERAI Insight: Government support can help give a much-needed boost to US semiconductor manufacturing. Due to the Chinese Government’s Made in China 2025 policy and an estimated $100 billion in Chinese government subsidies, Chinese chip production is estimated to surpass the US by 2030. Proposed federal legislation in the form of a $50 billion federal investment would result in a 27% expansion in the number of commercial fabs and would increase the US’ domestic output currently consisting of approximately 48% of the world’s chip sales. Expanded production would also ensure the US could manufacture advanced chips needed for defense and critical infrastructure and would make the domestic electronics market more resilient to supply chain interruptions.

Click here to open:

THE FAKE CISCO - Hunting for backdoors in Counterfeit Cisco devices

Why you should read it: In 2019, an IT company experienced failures with network switches after a failed upgrade. This report by F-Secure, a security company, examined the pair of counterfeit Cisco network switches which contained a mechanism allowing them to bypass authentication measures.

ERAI Insight: An IT company unknowingly purchased counterfeit Cisco switches. When the switches failed, an investigation by F-Secure determined that, while the units were suspect counterfeits, no evidence was found suggesting that the units posed any other risk. While some counterfeit product may contain back-doors or other forms of malicious programming and/or hardware, these particular switches were only designed to circumvent Cisco’s authentication measures by exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability that allowed security restrictions to be bypassed. Otherwise the switches were physically and operationally similar to authentic Cisco product. The products were seemingly created for the counterfeiters’ financial gain. The report underscores the importance of purchasing devices from authorized resellers, noting any physical differences between units of the same product, ensuring that all devices are up to date with the latest software, and, remembering that if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Click here to open:

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK - September 2020

Why you should read it: IPC has created an economic monthly report to provide data on the economy, industrial production, capacity utilization, PCB demand and industry employment. The September report shows an improvement in the economy in the past month but indicates that manufacturing in the US and Europe remains below pre-pandemic levels.

ERAI Insight: The report indicates that electronic manufacturing in particular remains strong and a steady demand for PCBs had likely led to a backlog, resulting in an increase of 6.7% in July of PCB imports. Despite PCB shipments decreasing almost 16% in July, a 10% increase over the last year remains. The report notes that in March and April of 2020, the industry lost approximately 2.7% of total industry employment and remains 1.7% lower than last year.

Click here to open:


U.S. Officials Fear Chinese Predatory Acquisitions During Pandemic

The Future of Global Electronics Supply Chains

The U.S.-China Tech War Could Cost Trillions

The Anatomy of a Cisco Counterfeit Shows Its Dangerous Potential

Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Export Tariff Act

ECIA Covid-19 Survey Reveals Concerns are Easing

Electronics Supply Chains are Stuck between a Pandemic and a Trade War. Where Do They go From Here?

How Seriously Has Coronavirus Infected the Electronics Industry?

Understanding the DOD's Ban on Some China-made Telecom Gear

Feds Confirm They Will Stop Buying Used Computers

U.S. Tech Bans, Pandemic No Match for Asia’s Electronics Rebound

Chinese Chip Maker Goes Under after Receiving $20B in Investments

A Self-erasing Chip for Security and Anti-counterfeit Tech

How to Approach Supply Chain Risk Management