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ICCE and ISC join forces

September 11, 2019

Imaging consumables industry groups, ICCE and ISC, work together to combat counterfeit goods being sold online and pose a critical threat to businesses and consumers everywhere.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide based on 2016 customs seizure data at $509 billion (€461 billion), up from $461 billion (€418 billion) in 2013 (2.5 percent of world trade). For the European Union, counterfeit trade represented 6.8 percent of imports from non-EU countries, up from 5 percent in 2013, and OECD expects the market to keep growing.

ICCE said that in the past, counterfeit goods were often packed into large shipping containers that arrived at ports of entry. Today, one of the fastest growing trends is using online platforms as a route to market for fake products with shipments going directly to the buyer, delivered by mail or express courier consignments directly to the doorstep.

According to the OECD, in 2014-16, postal packages were the most common means of shipping counterfeit and pirated goods. Sea transport made up just ten percent of total counterfeit seizures, compared to 57 percent coming from postal shipments and 12 percent from express couriers.

In the imaging consumables industry, two organisations working to combat counterfeit goods are The Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) and in the United States, the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC).  The organisations are independent, with their own areas of interest and priorities, but they share a common goal.

Andrew Gardner is the Worldwide Brand Protection Manager for Lexmark, which is a member of both organisations: “Although ICCE and ISC have different remits and geographical responsibilities through their founding charters, they share a common fight against counterfeiting and its effect on their members and channel partners as well as the consumer.  Both groups have developed comprehensive strategies for combating the trade of counterfeit products via the internet.”

Both organisations work closely with enforcement agencies such as customs, police and trading standards authorities to educate and share information. ICCE and ISC members also run education and training events for frontline officials in EMEA and the US. These valuable events serve to keep everyone up to date about the latest industry trends and to train them in the latest methods of differentiating between fake and genuine goods.

Talking about its work in the EMEA region, ICCE explained: “In a recent article, we explained how Operation Jasper, a multi-agency campaign which is a collaboration between major brands, including ICCE members, and law enforcement targeted suppliers of counterfeit goods on Facebook and Instagram. This led to more than 90 warrants being executed between 2016 and 2018 – in total, more than 10,000 URLs were removed, with hundreds of warnings and cease and desist notices issued.”

This year marks 25 years since the founding of ICCE’s North American counterpart, the Imaging Supplies Coalition.

Former Lexmark executive Allen Westerfield is President of the ISC. He explained: “The primary issue we’re dealing with right now is the incredible amount of infringing goods being bought online.  Distribution has moved from large to small quantities, and counterfeit goods are now being delivered directly to the person who orders them.  We’re working closely with internet portals to determine how better to eliminate infringing products from their websites.”

Allen maintains a close relationship with the US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) agency, the organisation responsible for combatting the importation of counterfeit and patent infringing goods through ports of entry in the United States. In addition to exchanging information with the agency, Westerfield facilitates and coordinates training sessions for USCBP officials and ISC members at ports and consignment hubs across the country. These training sessions have been effective and directly translated into increased awareness and seizures of infringing cartridges.

ICCE said: “While ICCE and the ISC may operate independently within their respective geographical areas, they certainly share a common mission. It’s critical that the two leading anti-counterfeit organisations in the printing consumables sector continue to work together to protect both manufacturers and consumers from fake products sold online and in traditional market places.”

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