Branded food is not very difficult to avoid; a fresh carrot or fresh meat joint are pretty obviously fresh; freeze them and they could have travelled further and have unknown origins. Package them as ingredients and who knows?
With chips and components there is a system of CoCs that can provide a degree of assurance, but buyers must resist the temptation to buy on the grey market.
Some manufacturers will respond to structured requests for obsolete components, last time buys and so on, but clearly they can't carry chip stocks forever, so legacy part orders need to be coordinated, which means cooperation between buyers with a common interest. Tough to organize.
Single source parts and sudden shortages of popular parts are what drive buyers to the grey market, so designers should provide alternate getouts for such designs or at least alert their buyers which parts should be on the Critical list.
Managers should check through the design BOM asking where the supply chain is vulnerable, and compare the cost of a few extra design precautions against loss of production or being forced to buy grey products?
In my experience this extra time often results in an improved design that recoups the cost of the work in production savings.
@Bruce Rayner: I do believe EE Times made a difference by highlighting the counterfeiting issue. How ever, I think the proof is in enforcement -to that end, there is only limited reach of what the US legal system can do. Thousands, if not, millions of products assembled overseas may make it to US destinations as finished goods with counterfeit parts in them. The problem needs a truly global cooperation in enforcement and I remain skeptical on this.
What we have seen in enforcement is the tip of the iceberg but a good start nonetheless!
The industry must take serious steps to counter fakes.
Give each part a serial number which is hardcoded into the silicon. Use something like Maxim's 1-wire protocol to access it. This unique read-only memory must be as cheap as humanly possible to integrate.
The manufacturer has a website where each searial lookup is recorded so that consequent lookups show all historical lookups. A normal part should then show expected lookups at more or less of these stages: wafer level test, packaged chip test, PCBA test, finished product test.
If a serial number shows up with a large amount of lookups, it's likely to be the template used in a fake. And obviously, if the chip has no serial number or an incorrect checksum, the part should be dismissed altogether.
It is surprising to know only two persons got punished. Should not organization should get punished as whole? Country of origin for part is very important and one should not use this part of parts in their design.
As harsh as this may sound, putting the manufacture of many of our high tech IC's into facilities in other countries provides greater opportunities for counterfeiting by other firms in those countries. We need to make more of those products back in the USA, and to put tight controls on their manufacture and distribution if we really want to attack the counterfeit problem. Otherwise, the rewards to counterfeiters so far outweigh any risks to them. The risk falls to the user who in many cases has no way of knowing whether or not the part is genuine.
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