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Cartridge seller charged after police raid

June 2005

9 June 2005: Epson Australia has warned resellers they face legal action if they are found to have sold counterfeit Epson inkjet cartridges to customers.

The warning comes after Victorian Police arrested three people and charged one in connection with the alleged selling of counterfeit inkjet printer cartridges on eBay. Police seized 4435 cartridges and associated packaging in a raid on a house in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill in late May.

The person charged had agreed to sell the counterfeit cartridges as a bulk lot to undercover investigators. Police said the person charged had been attempting to sell the counterfeit cartridges in small quantities on eBay as genuine Epson inkjet cartridges. The cartridges have a street value of up to $30 each or more than $130,000 in total. The cartridge packaging carried the label "Made for use in China".

Mr Bruno Turcato, Managing Director of Epson Australia, said Epson is concerned that Epson printer owners who unknowingly buy counterfeit or non-genuine cartridges may wrongly expect them to perform as well and deliver the same quality print as genuine Epson cartridges.

"Epson is determined to protect its customers, brands and trademarks by taking legal action where it can, including the seizure and destruction of counterfeit goods that replicate Epson trademarks.

"It is no defence for a reseller to claim they believed the cartridges were genuine if they have counterfeit cartridges in their possession or have sold them to users."

Use of non-genuine or counterfeit cartridges creates a significant problem, not just for Epson and its distributors and resellers who sell genuine Epson cartridges, but also for users, as they may cause damage to the print head resulting in expensive repair costs that are not be covered by Epson's product warranty. Where Epson detects during repair that the cartridge is counterfeit or non genuine, it advises the customer of the cause of the problem.

Epson also follows up directly with the reseller, where known, to identify the source of the counterfeit cartridges and to take legal action to prevent further sale of counterfeit cartridges, where possible.

"Epson has a Gold Seal Distributor program which assures the resellers that any consumables they buy from these distributors are genuine," Mr Turcato said.

"If a reseller buys cartridges they believe are not genuine they should immediately contact Epson and we will investigate the source of the cartridges and if appropriate take legal action.

"The Epson trademark is extremely valuable as it symbolises to our customers Epson's high standards of quality and innovation to our customers. We will take whatever steps we can to protect the Epson trademark because we are thereby protecting our customers and the relationship we have with them.".

Importing or selling the counterfeit cartridges is an offence under both the Trade Practices Act and the Australian Trademarks Act 1995, as the cartridge packing carries a replica of Epson's trademark and fraudulently misrepresents the cartridge and ink as genuine Epson products.

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