ICCE Reports Impressive Successes against Counterfeit Imaging Consumables for 2022

ICCE Reports Impressive Successes against Counterfeit Imaging Consumables for 2022

ICCE and its members have taken effective action in 2022 to combat the trade in counterfeit imaging consumables. These illegal products can pose serious risks to consumers, such as wasted money spent on malfunctioning consumables which can even damage a printer.

In 2022, ICCE and its members have thwarted counterfeiting schemes on a massive scale across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We worked with online marketplaces to remove tens of thousands of infringing listings. And we partnered with law enforcement agencies through a series of special training sessions and events – and supported them to remove huge quantities of illegal products from the markets before they could be sold to unsuspecting customers. For 2023, we are continuing our dedicated fight against counterfeit imaging supplies – with a clear goal of protecting customers from the risks posed by counterfeit toner cartridges, ink cartridges, and printer ribbons.

As global trade moves past the Covid pandemic and the disruptions it caused, the trade in counterfeits is moving forward as well. These illegal products can pose serious risks to consumers – in the case of counterfeit imaging supplies, this can include wasted money spent on malfunctioning consumables which can even damage a printer. To combat the trade in counterfeit imaging consumables, ICCE members have combined their strength as leading global imaging manufacturers to marvellous effects in 2022.

Counterfeit imaging consumables are illegal – they ultimately cheat consumers out of the quality they have a right to expect from branded supplies. In fact, counterfeits can carry serious risks for users and dealers. At ICCE, we are committed to protecting unsuspecting consumers and honest businesses, as demonstrated by our bold actions and initiatives in 2022.

Massive blows disrupt illegal online trade

Research suggests that the popular e-commerce trade is often used to sell counterfeit products. A recent report by OECD and EUIPO1 shows that 60% of global seizures of dangerous counterfeit items destined for the EU were ordered online. Accordingly, many ICCE members have taken bold steps to protect online shoppers.

This includes dedicated efforts by Brother – this brand alone has helped online marketplaces to remove over 40,000 infringing product listings in Europe. In parallel, ICCE member HP reports that it has triggered delistings of approx. 155,000 illicit offers of printing supplies products across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.2 HP’s actions covered several leading e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or n11, as well as smaller or locally relevant platforms.

Epson reported about 70,000 offers for takedown in 2022 in Europe and in Turkey. Based on their online monitoring and good cooperation with other ICCE members, they also identified several major online traders of counterfeits in Turkey. As a result, officials carried out various raid actions and seized over 85,000 counterfeits and components.

Strong focus on stakeholder training

A key factor in the fight against counterfeiting is to strengthen cooperation with law enforcement agencies and to inform local officials on how to spot suspicious products so they can take action. ICCE members provided tailored training for law enforcement officers in 2022 with numerous remarkable events and workshops. For example, Brother organised a workshop for German officials, while Epson conducted a series of fourteen training sessions for over 700 customs and law enforcement officials in Europe. With the end of the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the sessions were again held as face-to-face events, allowing for more direct interaction and sharing of experiences.

In addition to the efforts driven by individual brands, several ICCE member brands conducted a joint series of training events across several countries. This included several sessions involving regional customs agencies throughout Italy. The close collaboration enabled by ICCE proved highly efficient for training stakeholders, while the combination of both face-to-face and online sessions helped to extend our reach.

Strong focus on stakeholder training

ICCE member Canon showcases hands-on samples during an in-person training event in the UK in 2022 (picture courtesy of Canon)

Dedicated enforcement removes counterfeits from the market

The close cooperation between ICCE members and officials also enhances customer protection by removing huge quantities of counterfeit products from the markets through dedicated enforcement actions. In Europe, a major raid action supported by Brother caused a stir in 2022: German officials, supported by Brother’s brand protection team, delivered an extensive raid action that resulted in the seizure of thousands of illegal items and ultimately the disruption of an entire counterfeiting operation.

In the Middle East, huge quantities of imaging consumables infringing the trademarks of several ICCE members were removed in a series of major raids. Highlights in the region include a particularly noteworthy action in Turkey: Here, authorities enforced against a large-scale manufacturer dealing in counterfeit imaging consumables in January 2022. They seized tens of thousands of items that infringed the intellectual property of several ICCE members.

We greatly appreciate the contributions of our ICCE partners. Combining the intelligence of multiple brands makes for more effective responses to counterfeiting. And it sends a strong message – making it clear that ICCE members take resolute action against counterfeiting, to protect and safeguard our valued customers and business partners.

ICCE contributed to many of these enforcement actions. The association supported its members by ensuring cooperation and intelligence sharing between our member brands.

Dedicated enforcement removes counterfeits from the market

Illicit items seized in a recent raid in Turkey, showing fakes infringing the intellectual property of an ICCE member (picture courtesy of Epson)

Keeping up the momentum in 2023

ICCE and its members will continue to take a strong stance against counterfeit imaging consumables. Through educational articles and social media activities, ICCE is raising awareness of the risks posed by counterfeit imaging consumables. In 2023, ICCE and its members will also drive new initiatives against counterfeiting – some of which are already visible. ICCE member Brother’s collaboration with e-commerce giant Amazon has recently resulted in legal action against a major counterfeiting ring. Additional new activities are being prepared for 2023 to protect our valued customers.

As we have done for the past 25 years, ICCE will continue to fight counterfeiting by working closely with law enforcement, businesses, channel partners, and consumers. Stay up to date at icce.net/news, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

1 OECD and EUIPO, Dangerous Fakes, 2022 (mentioned data relates to 2017 through 2019)

2 HP results include offers taken down for infringement of HP’s intellectual property (IP), e.g. violation of HP’s trademarks, copyrights, or patents; as well as VAT evasion. Figure also includes actions against infringements of relevant IP rights held by HP’s partner Canon, such as patents used in HP toner cartridges. Data generally relates to HP’s fiscal year 2022 (ending 31 October); for select activities, for the year ending 30 September.

About ICCE

The Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (ICCE) was formed in 1997 as a direct response to the increase in counterfeit imaging consumables across the regions of Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Imaging consumables include such products as toners, ink cartridges and ribbons. Initially created as an industry association with a focus on education, lobbying, information exchange, and awareness, it has since developed to include coordinating the role of receiving and processing intelligence information on counterfeiters, initiating joint industry raids and enforcement activities, and helping its members to target counterfeiters through the criminal and civil courts.

Members of the organisation include some of the world’s leading imaging and printing companies: Brother, Canon, Epson, HP Inc, Kyocera, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox.