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Eastman Machines Victimized by Chinese Counterfeiters

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A Buffalo-based manufacturer says it's being victimized by international property piracy on the part of Chinese companies.

Eastman Machine Company manufactures fabric cutting machines at its plant on Washington Street. Company President Robert Stevenson says Eastman spends substantial amounts of money on research and development, only to see its efforts copied by Chinese counterfeiters.

"They have a network of manufacturers that when they see a product, they like to copy it," Stevenson said. "They copy it exactly in function and form. They're not embarrassed to take your trademark name and logo. They do it to confuse the end user who may not understand that these are not original Eastman machines. They're clones."

The US Chamber of Commerce has started a program of educating congressional representatives on the severity of this type of counterfeiting. Last Friday, one of Stevenson's top executives traveled to Washington to appear before a gathering of congressmen and their staffers. Stevenson says Eastman has lost jobs because of the piracy.

"Our workforce here in Buffalo has gone from 120 UAW members to 55," Stevenson said. "We basically lost 50 percent of our business to these cloned machines."

Stevenson and other small businesses are calling on Congress to provide more protection to prevent such counterfeiting. Stevenson said free trade is not the problem but that fair trade is the solution.

He said the US government needs to do more to make sure the world community respects US trademark and patent laws.