Saudi Arabian Officials Seize More Than 35,000 Counterfeit Cartridges
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On August 11, Arab News reported that Saudi Arabian officials confiscated more than 35,000 counterfeit cartridges, including many labeled HP and Canon, in different areas of the capital city of Riyadh.
According to a news release from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), that organization’s field inspectors found the illegal activity taking place in several residential dwellings. In one house, MCI field inspectors seized more than 5,000 packages of cartridges, along with 4,000 empties that were ready to be refilled, and nearly 8,000 labels carrying the HP logo. Other buildings housing similar operations were also raided, yielding more than 25,000 counterfeit cartridges bearing HP and Canon branding. Inspectors also monitored the delivery of empty cartons, packaging tools, and machines for thermal packing. More than 30,000 empty cartridges, 50,000 posters and envelopes, and 6,000 empty cartons were confiscated.
This raid reportedly follows another one in which more than 15,000 counterfeit cartridges were seized. Those involved in that raid are being detained and investigated. The reports state that the confiscated cartridges were intended for local markets.
While local reports mention only HP and Canon brands, and refer to the cartridges as ink cartridges, photos of the seizure from the MCI website show toner cartridges as well, some of which appear to have Samsung branding.
OEMs have been focusing on cracking down on patent-infringing clones in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), notoriously at this year’s Remanexo@Paperworld show (see “OEM Crackdown on IP Violations in EMEA Continues at Remanexpo@Paperworld”), as well as in the numerous lawsuits recently filed by Canon and Samsung (see “Canon Adds German Individual to Its ‘Dongle Gear’ Complaints” and related articles, and “Samsung Warns Uprint Cartridge Resellers of IP Infringement” and related articles). However, counterfeit cartridges are a growing problem for both OEMs and legitimate third-party supplies firms, and there has been increased attention in this area as well, especially in the EMEA.
For example, four years ago, HP commissioned research that highlighted the counterfeiting issue in EMEA (see “Half of EMEA Purchasing Managers Buy Counterfeit Goods”). In 2011, a raid in United Arab Emirates (UAE) yielded $3.8 million worth of counterfeit cartridges (see “Thousands of Brother Counterfeits Seized During Raid in Dubai”), and just a year ago the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit HP cartridges took place in UAE (see “HP Comments on Biggest Ever Counterfeit Cartridge Seizure”).
The Middle Eastern hardcopy market has seen a good deal of growth over the last couple of years—European market research firm CONTEXT reported year-over-year growth in the Middle East and Africa of 20 percent in the first quarter of 2014, citing UAE and Saudi Arabia specifically as helping to boost that growth (see “CONTEXT Reports Printer Unit Shipments Are Up in EMEA”). As hardcopy placements grow, so will the demand for consumables, which can in turn increase the market for counterfeits. MCI said that it “would not tolerate in the application of the statutory procedures against the offenders and those involved in the practice of fraud, and all that puts the health and safety of consumers at risk.” It encourages consumers to report complaints and observations to the Ministry’s notification center.