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HP cracks down on piracy in India

Despite being tied up in a mega-merger with Compaq Computer, the company isn't cutting back on efforts to stop counterfeiting of its products in Asia.

Despite being tied up in a mega-merger with Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard isn't cutting back on efforts to stop counterfeiting of its products in Asia.

Over the past four months, HP has assisted the Indian police department in raiding nine shops in Mumbai and Chennai, turning up a large haul of fake HP printer cartridges and accessories, the company said in a statement Wednesday

More than 250 forged cartridges, refills, packages, pouches, toner boxes and a sealing machine were seized by the Chennai Police's Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department on March 8.

On February 28, the Mumbai police arrested three individuals for possessing more than 1,500 fake pouches, ink and toner cartridges, security labels, and boxes. Ink injectors, a sealing machine and a printer were also found on their premises, police said.

The arrest came one week after the Mumbai police raided a workshop in Fort District. Among the counterfeit items seized were 5,500 security labels and cartridge stickers, 4,800 catalogs, and 500 inkjet boxes.

"Our program investments in India have begun to reap rewards," an HP representative said of the efforts. The said it would continue to hunt down racketeers.

The raids have been ongoing since last year, following tip-offs from affected customers. Since October, a total of 10 people have been detained, said the representative.

Crackdowns were also carried out on forgers in China in the fourth quarter of 2001. More than 87,000 counterfeit HP cartridges and accessories were seized, with 14 police raids conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

In its push to recapture market share from counterfeiters, HP last May introduced new inkjet cartridge packaging that incorporates a "color shifting" security label; when viewed face on, the HP "invent" logo on the label appears in color, but when viewed at any other angle the logo will look black.

The company has also been replacing its older ink cartridge boxes in line with stock turnover on a market-by-market basis. However, the security labels have not yet been incorporated into HP's toner cartridge packaging.

"HP will not rest on its laurels, but will continue to work hard in its fight against the counterfeiters through similar actions, and by making it easier for customers to identify original HP print cartridges," the company's representative said.

Irene Tham reported from Singapore.