By Graham Stacey
With the introduction of an all-new and extensive anti-counterfeiting programme, HP is stepping up the pressure on the makers and sellers of counterfeit HP printing supplies
Hewlett-Packard has introduced its anti-counterfeiting programme to trace, track and ultimately beat counterfeiters and perpetrators of product fraud in the printing and imaging supplies business. To protect its customers and the public at large, special reporting channels for victims of counterfeit HP LaserJet and inkjet print cartridges, as well as victims of illegal sales practices, have been set up.In the UAE, HP has launched a hotline and an e-mail address which can be used by customers, channel partners or HP sales staff to alert the company’s anti-fraud team to the presence of counterfeit products. The company is planning to expand the programme throughout the region over the coming year.Leads reported are followed up by a network of anti-fraud consultants around the world. These consultants gather additional evidence to review and build a case against an unauthorised trader.Once a case has been developed, HP decides on the best legal action to take in that particular situation – from civil cases to criminal cases, which can result in confiscation of products under police warrants and, in cases of successful prosecutions, jail terms and/or substantial fines for the counterfeiters.Up to now, HP has tracked about 200 leads all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa with 85 follow-up investigations leading to more than 30 active enforcement matters, including civil and criminal cases. As a direct consequence, more than 70,000 counterfeit products have been stopped from entering the market. The actions have led to many more investigations taking place around the world and to the shutdown of illegitimate businesses in the Asia Pacific region. Police actions targeted retail shops, distributors as well as unauthorised manufacturers.Based on recent estimates from the European Union, counterfeiting and piracy have risen to up to 8% of world trade, resulting in $200-$300 billion in lost revenue, Many of these fakes originate in Asia and increasingly in Eastern Europe. Production and distribution are a worldwide phenomenon also affecting the UAE.