They had a convention at work today, about trademarks and counterfeit products. And saw an example of a fake Square D breaker. It looked quite authentic, even with the small inspection/UL stickers. But who knows what was inside it...
There were also a few products that were obviously bad, like an extension cord with way too thin wire. No counterfeiting a quality name brand, just a bad no-name product, with a bogus UL seal of approval.
Square D does not distinguish between actual counterfeits, and genuine Square D products that were intended for distribution outside the USA, then imported by someone outside of the 'official' Square D distribution system.
Square D is using Copyright / Trademark law to enforce their marketing scheme.
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case (Kertsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons) on this exact point.
Personally, I have no issues with a breaker made under Square D supervision, listed by UL, but brought to me through some source besides the 'official' Square D dealer in my area.
Case in point: A Square D panel readily available from the Square D distributor in Nevada for $50 was quoted to me by the Arkansas dealer at $800. For a 10-space, Homeline panel, that's a bit much. I obtained the panel ... for $50, and had it shipped here.
I have set a quarter aside for Square D ... should they want to call someone who cares.
Panel was most certainly a 'garden variety' panel. It's in their book, and on their web site- and there's nothing 'spacial' about it. Not appearing in the dealers 'list,' the dealer had to call Square D and apply his multiplier to the price provided by Square D. The dealer told me up front that this would happen. If the item isn't on his 'list,' the price is absurd.
For reasons known alone to Square D, it appears that they simply don't want to sell this panel here. Panel complies with local PoCo and NEC requirements.
My point is that there are more than a few quirks in Square D's marketing plan. You can't tell Square D that, though ... they've had the best minds develop their system, so any perceived flaws are either your fault, or there ought to be a law ... The end result is that folks will find ways around the 'rules.'
Now, should Square D wish to hear the specifics, I'll be happy to talk to them. I'll be happy to tell them the name of the local dealer and identify the specific panel. I'll even point out that the home centers have it on their web sites, but are not able to get it through their distribution system. I'm not about to tell them too much about my sources; past experience with Square D shows that their primary efforts will be to close down this alternative source. Suffice it to say that my source was a large, established supply chain that is a stocking distributor of Square D.
But I wander ...
My real point is that Square D has 'cried wolf' so many times I really don't care any more. Maybe it's not the shepherd crying out the alarm - but a stock thief wishing to divert attention from himself.
I am pretty far from the supply chain but my wife buys everything for her community (a weird permitting thing) and that just sounds silly. Any reasonable supply house will try to get close to the internet price. Everyone has Google these days.