Working towards eradicating counterfeit imaging consumables in 2017 – a successful year for ICCE
2017 was a year of international success for ICCE in the fight against counterfeit imaging consumables.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in September, ICCE successfully continued to raise awareness of counterfeit imaging supplies, educate law enforcement officials, help coordinate actions and bring criminals to justice.
Collaboration and shared intelligence
Counterfeiting is a serious crime and increasingly it has been linked to organised crime, where gangs often operate in a diverse range of illegal activities, from smuggling, to drugs and human trafficking. Not only does this illegal act damage a legitimate companies brand reputation, it will affects their profitability and threaten governments’ tax revenues and economic viability as well as posing a risk to consumer health.
The link between counterfeiting and organised crime is recognised by law enforcement and the collaborative work between agencies and industry associations is critical to the overall success of actions against the counterfeiters. Chris Vansteenkiste, Cluster Manager of Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Centre (IPC3) said in September 2017: “law enforcement and industry collaboration are critical to our successful fight against the counterfeiters. Over the last decade Europol has developed links with industry associations such as ICCE and through shared intelligence and joint actions we have become more effective in enforcing the law against the counterfeiters.”
One of the most important elements of the work carried out by ICCE is that of training law enforcement agencies in how to identify counterfeits. In 2017 ICCE continued to expand its face-to-face education and engagement programme with law enforcement officials across Europe, Middle East and particularly across Africa.
During the course of the year, ICCE members met with hundreds of police, customs officials and members of other bodies involved in the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Training gives participants the skills and confidence they need to recognise counterfeit products during their routine checks of shipments, warehouses, street sellers and reseller outlets. Forming part of the education and awareness provided by ICCE is its law enforcement video.
As part of the drive to increase awareness amongst resellers, ICCE launched a new video in March. Featuring insights from Interpol and the UK’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), the video offers advice for resellers on how to protect their businesses and spot counterfeits. A spokesperson for ICCE commented:
“We would encourage all resellers to make sure they have appropriate checks in place to help prevent counterfeit imaging supplies from getting into the supply chain. Put simply, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Identification of counterfeits is an important first step, but when criminal activities have been committed it’s vital that justice is served.
ICCE members have had a number of high profile successes this year, including the jailing of two traders in connection with the seizure of counterfeit printer cartridges. Both defendants were found guilty of forgery and counterfeiting by the Appeal Court of Athens in Greece. As well as their prison sentence, the traders have been ordered to pay administration penalties and the counterfeit imaging supplies seized during the raids will be destroyed.
Meanwhile, intelligence-led investigations culminated in two successful raids on printer consumable dealers in Turkey. The raids, conducted at the end of September 2017, led to seizures of 98,000 pieces of counterfeit finished product, counterfeit packaging, counterfeit holograms and associated counterfeit printer consumable material. The goods had an estimated value of approximately EURO 2,000,000.
In addition, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced new laws to enhance the enforcement of existing intellectual property rights in February. The law imposes more severe penalties on counterfeiters who now face up to two years in prison and/or fines of up to Dh 1 million (approx. EURO 255,000).
20 years of combatting counterfeiting
ICCE celebrated its 20th anniversary of fighting fakes in September. To mark the occasion ICCE participated in Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Conference in Antwerp, providing an opportunity for anyone involved in anti-counterfeiting activity to learn about the issues specific to the print consumables industry and to share insights.
ICCE has had another very busy year raising awareness and educating law enforcement, consumers and resellers. Two video launches and a number of successful enforcement actions have provided opportunities for ICCE to celebrate success and raise awareness amongst a number of stakeholders. ICCE will continue this work in 2018 by continuing to mark its 20th anniversary year and through extending its training programmes throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa.
To find out more about ICCE, please visit www.icce.net or follow @iccefightsfakes.
If you would like to talk to us in more detail about our work or our collaboration with law enforcement, please e-mail us – www.icce.net/contact/.