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HP makes false counterfeiting claims in India

April 19, 2013

Protests against the raids at a market in Delhi. Credit DQ Week

Protests against the raids at a market in Delhi. Credit DQ Week

Delhi computer consumables dealers claim to have been wrongly harassed by HP anti-counterfeit teams; while HP Director includes remanufactured cartridges as counterfeit products.

An article on Indian news website DQ Week reports that from 10 April, HP’s Anti-Counterfeit team began to raid consumable and media dealers across the city “in an arbitrary fashion wherein no procedure, whatsoever, was followed by the raiding team” and that some partners had been detained, along with their stocks.

The raids occurred in several markets in Delhi, with most of those raided alleging that “no proper inventory of material was made” and “their seizure was not authenticated by them or the raiding team by way of signatures, thereby giving the raiding team enough lever to manipulate the stocks in any manner they deemed fit”.

Puneet Singhal, President of Computer Media Dealers Association (CMDA) Delhi, commented: “The team never properly identified itself and only relied on their own witnesses and did not take the market witnesses. Any search was over within minutes and the partners with their stocks taken away within minutes without a proper verification, for reasons best known to the team.”

He continued: “We have always stood for all ethical values in business and have always maintained that we condemn counterfeit activity whatsoever in any form. We have always been co-operating with HP and other vendors.”

In protest of the raids, CMDA-Delhi closed the entire markets relating to computer consumables in Delhi on 13 April and “handed over a representation regarding harassment to the Delhi police”. It has also sent a written request to the Managing Director of HP India for clarifications regarding the raids. In the letter, CMDA-Delhi asked the OEM questions such as: “What are the tests available for an on the spot assessment of originality of your products namely toners and inks besides the hologram test to confirm the originality of the products?”; “how does HP view the Compatible Consumable industry in Legal Terms?”; “was a spot chemical test conducted by the raiding team recently in their raids?”; and “is HP’s Authorized Channel allowed to Refill as well as Sell Compatible Toners?”.

Further to the Delhi raids, a recent article on VAR India included an interview with Nitin Hiranandani, Director, Printing Systems, HP Personal and Printing Systems, regarding counterfeiting. In the interview, Hiranandani gave a definition of counterfeit cartridges as “remanufactured or refilled cartridges or sometimes available as compatible cartridges that are illegally packaged to look like HP original cartridges,”; thus failing to differentiate between remanufactured/refilled cartridges and genuine counterfeit products.

Hiranandani went on to explain that counterfeit cartridges are a “serious threat” to HP’s business interests “and those of its customers” and that the OEM is “actively pursuing action against parties who manufacture or sell counterfeit cartridges”.

In addition, Hiranandani stated that research conducted by Lyra and commissioned by HP found that “over 50 percent of the people who try non-original toners wish they had not bought one” and “non-original toners can cause streaky, blotchy or faded prints”.

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