This article is the first of a two-part series on counterfeiting in the IC supply chain. The focus is primarily on semiconductor components that are not available directly from the manufacturer due to quantity or discontinued status. Part I discusses the factors contributing to the rise of such counterfeiting and some of the measures in place to deal with the growing problem. It presents and examines several counterfeit ICs found in the supply chain and describes procurement practices and failure analysis techniques that can help determine whether a product is counterfeit or authentic. Part II, scheduled for the February 2009 issue of EDFA, provides additional procurement and analysis options along with case studies showing how complex analysis can become and how misleading the evidence can seem. It also presents recommended methods for removing counterfeit components from the supply line.

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