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Compaq seizes fake parts from supplier

The PC maker says it confiscated counterfeit parts from the premises of a New Hampshire computer-parts wholesaler. Meanwhile, Compaq says, it's not stopping there.

Compaq Computer said a New Hampshire computer-parts wholesaler has been caught selling fake Compaq parts, and added that it is actively pursuing other counterfeiters.

Compaq said Wednesday that the company and U.S. Marshals seized the counterfeit parts from the premises of the wholesaler, Hardware 4 Less. The value of the goods seized has yet to be assessed, Compaq spokeswoman Elizabeth Gillan said.

Hardware 4 Less, located in Bow, N.H., did not return calls for comment. Compaq said the goods are in the possession of a New Hampshire federal court.

Compaq said memory boards, hard drives, Compaq labels, packing materials, warranty booklets and software licenses were among the counterfeit items seized from Hardware 4 Less. Hardware 4 Less has an Information Technology Resellers Association (ITRA) logo at the bottom of its home page, which links to a "code of ethics." However, the group "was dissolved last year," former ITRA co-chairman Kay Almond said in an e-mail.

The wholesaler also offers goods from Sun Microsystems and IBM on its site and advertises products "at the absolute lowest prices, while maintaining customer dedication." Representatives from Sun and IBM said they were looking into the matter.

Compaq said it plans to seek "several million dollars" from the company as a penalty. The company has a preliminary injunction against the wholesaler, prohibiting it from continuing to sell the goods, though no arrests or legal action have been taken against individuals, Gillan said.

This isn't the first time Compaq has seized fake parts.

Last year in California's Orange County, which is south of Los Angeles, Compaq, along with U.S. Marshals, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office, seized millions of dollars in fake parts from Dynasty Memory. Dynasty, which paid a penalty to Compaq, had manufactured the goods and was "planning to sell to the public," Compaq said. Dynasty's owners are still under investigation.

"It's an industrywide issue," said Gillan, adding that several counterfeiters have chosen to target Compaq because they're "obviously looking for the market leader."

"We have two or three other seizures in the process," Gillan said. The company will release the names of counterfeit dealers as the seizures close, she added.

Consumers who are skeptical about the authenticity of their parts can check for alerts on counterfeit memory products or hard drives on Compaq's Web site.