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The fight with fakes

Last month, the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) celebrated 20 years of combating print consumable crime

To mark the occasion, ICCE took part in Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Conference which was held in Antwerp on 19-20 September. The event, which brings together law enforcement, private industry and academia from across the continent to discuss new initiatives, trends and techniques in the fight against counterfeiting, provided an opportunity for delegates to meet ICCE members, learn about the issues faced by the printer consumables sector and the industry’s fight against the counterfeiters over the last 20 years.

The non-profit organisation dedicated to eliminating counterfeiting of imaging consumables such as printer ink and toner cartridges, also launched an awareness raising video, helping consumers and business understand the issues of counterfeiting and explaining the actions that ICCE is taking to protect its customers.

€1.6bn market

In a statement ICCE said that the imaging consumables industry is threatened by a €1.6bn market of counterfeit goods. These are not only likely to be sub-standard but can damage printers and potentially expose consumers to dangerous chemicals. They are often produced in poor working environments and can be environmentally unfriendly. In buying fake products, consumers may even be inadvertently funding criminal groups involved in people trafficking and terrorism.

It insists that awareness is critical in the fight against the counterfeiters, as this type of crime often tends to be assumed as less serious. Many people are unaware of the risks to their own safety or the connection between counterfeiting and other forms of crime.

While consumers and businesses have an important role to play, the real power to make a difference is with local law enforcement officials. To that end ICCE works closely with law enforcement agencies throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa to educate, collaborate on intelligence and enhance their skills in identifying counterfeit goods.

Recent successes include the seizure of thousands of counterfeit toners in the UAE. In July this year two men in Greece were convicted of trading in counterfeit imaging supplies.

Chris Vansteenkiste, Cluster Manager of Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Centre said: “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.”