There’s no real substitute for an original camera part. Be that a battery, speedlight, release cable, or even a battery grip, it’s best purchased from the brand. But with so many counterfeit batteries flooding the market of late, Canon has stepped up and taken action. Together with Amazon, they’re stepping up efforts to ensure that knockoff batteries and other pieces of fake Canon gear don’t make it into your hands. The two recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against counterfeiters. But how do you spot fake Canon gear? Well, we’ll explain that and more here.
Who’s Making Fake Canon Gear?
The question of why someone would manufacture counterfeit batteries and other pieces of fake Canon gear has a simple answer. Counterfeiters always take the easy way out. They exploit the success and popularity of legitimate brands close to our hearts. By producing and selling fake products that are often of inferior quality, they pose a significant threat to consumer safety. These fakes are usually sold at prices far below that of the originals. Unsuspecting consumers think they’ve nabbed themselves a deal that’s too good to be true. Besides, they don’t usually know about this until something goes really wrong, leaving them with damaged goods.
The uninitiated among us often don’t realize they may be purchasing a counterfeit battery. None of us would willingly buy a knockoff knowing it was fake — though people do. The risks that come with batteries that are counterfeits are way too many. You can never tell if they are genuinely compatible with your camera. There’s also the potential hazard of it exploding during use. That could leave you with a nonfunctional camera. Or worse, it may even end up injuring you. As a brand with a strong reputation for its quality, Canon recognizes the impact of counterfeit products on both consumers and its business. The trademark “Canon” is registered in around 190 countries globally. With their latest lawsuit, Canon has made it clear that they are not about to sit quietly over counterfeits making their way to their loyal customers.
It must be noted that this is very different from gray-market products. For more information on the latter, check out this link.
What Does The Lawsuit Entail?
We reached out to Canon USA to understand what the joint lawsuit with Amazon was about. Canon USA collectively, started by saying that the joint lawsuit was filed against Amazon sellers who allegedly sold counterfeit batteries and chargers. This is the company’s first filing of a joint lawsuit with an ISP for an online marketplace. Canon has already taken measures against selling counterfeit products on many e-commerce platforms. However, in this particular lawsuit, Amazon and Canon have established a collaborative relationship to protect Canon’s intellectual property (IP) on Amazon’s online platform. More information on this can be read at this link.
The Dangers Of Counterfeit Products
“These counterfeit products are often not equipped with protective mechanisms that meet certain quality standards,” is what Canon stated about the dangers of counterfeit camera batteries and chargers. Without disclosing which camera models’ batteries are most likely to be counterfeited, Canon says they were concerned about the safety risks these products posed to customers. Despite measures being taken in the past, counterfeit products still made their way to e-commerce websites. These latest measures by Canon and Amazon should eventually stop that, hopefully.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the camera world. Fujifilm Instax went after all the non-authorized dealers selling Instax gear on Amazon a few years ago. Gura Gear did the same thing too.
Ways To Safeguard Yourself From Counterfeits and Fake Canon Gear
Canon engaged in regular discussions with Amazon regarding the issue of counterfeit products, and this joint lawsuit is part of our cooperative relationship.Canon USA
Here are some tips on how to look out for fake Canon gear.
Does The Package Look Dodgy?
Firstly, take a good look at the packaging or packaging photos. Genuine Canon products are packaged in high-quality cardboard boxes or blister packs. If you receive your purchase encased in bubble wrap or clear plastic, there’s a good possibility it’s a counterfeit.
Check for The Genuine Canon Hologram
Canon’s anti-counterfeiting hologram can be seen on replacement batteries, battery chargers, and camera grips packaging. If the similar hologram seen above (or a similar one) is missing from the packaging, it’s a high chance that the product is fake.
Your Camera May Be Trained To Alert You
Specific models of Canon batteries communicate with their cameras to help users identify if the battery inserted is genuine. To protect you, when you insert a counterfeit battery into your camera, there’s a chance that an alert might be displayed. In case you see such an alert, contact Canon right away.
Thoroughly Research The Seller’s Profile
Does the seller have sufficient positive feedback from buyers of their store’s products? Another indicator I often use to gauge a seller’s authenticity is to read the negative feedback on their profile. It’s all too easy these days for sellers to get many positive reviews, but a disgruntled buyer will definitely leave genuine feedback to warn other potential buyers. Don’t press the Buy button too quickly when seeing a good deal in an e-commerce store. Instead, first read recent feedback from buyers on the profile before purchasing.
If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
Unless it’s a deal coming directly from Canon, any significant deviation in the battery or battery charger price is best viewed with suspicion. Consumables and accessories are often on sale, but when prices are too low to be real, chances are that the goods aren’t authentic too.
Is The Seller Offering You Many Extras
Are you tempted by offers such as free shipping or extra discounts if you purchase more than one battery from some sellers? This indicates that the items on offer aren’t necessarily original Canon products. Sellers listing counterfeits disguised as originals use such tactics to try and entice you into buying from them. Watch out for these, lest you unsuspectingly buy some fake Canon gear in one go.
Does It Fit Easily
If the battery doesn’t easily pop into your camera’s battery compartment, it may not be an original. Likewise, it might be a fake if you’re having difficulty trying to pry it out of there. Though it needs to be said that this could sometimes be due to the battery being damaged by a fall.
Compare The Logo
If you’ve purchased an additional battery online, be sure to compare the logo on the new battery against the one on the battery that came with your camera. Canon takes great pride in its branding, and logos on counterfeit batteries won’t necessarily look as sharp or clear as those on original batteries. Nevertheless, this isn’t always an easy way to spot a fake, but it’s still worth checking carefully.
Ask Canon Directly
US residents can dial 1-855-46-CANON to report any suspected counterfeit products or to have Canon evaluate a purchase they’ve just made. For those outside the USA, you’ll need to contact your local or regional Canon office for the same.
It must be remembered that Canon is not responsible or liable for malfunctions, damages, or injuries caused by counterfeit products. Also, shopping for genuine Canon products from their Online Store or their authorized dealers can help protect you and your cameras from damage. Furthermore, this directly helps Canon to continue bringing out more quality products.
Canon is concerned that these potentially dangerous counterfeit products may pose a safety risk to our customers.Canon USA
This article has been made possible with inputs from Canon USA. All images of (original) Canon batteries and chargers shown in this article were graciously provided by my friend Stanley Paul and are used with permission.