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Coimbatore resellers call for unity to fight HP

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DQW Bureau
New Update





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IT resellers operating in the Coimbatore market are calling for channels

unity to fight HP and other MNCs, following recent raids in the local IT market

searching for fake consumables. The reseller community is questioning the

genuineness of such raids saying it is just an arm-twisting act to instill fear

in the minds of the resellers.

About a month back, HP, through its agency–Enforcers of Intellectual

Property Rights (EIPR)–along with CB CID, had conducted raids in Coimbatore

market and took a couple of resellers–Shyam Electronics and Computer Shopee–into

custody for alleged dealing of fake products. While Computer Shopee had managed

to get anticipatory bail, Shyam Ele-ctronics had to serve the remand period.

Presently, the case is pending before the Judicial Magistrate II (Court) for

further hearing.

This is the second case in Coimbatore in the last eight months where earlier

Canon, along with the local police, took three resellers–Vijex, Galaxy and

Ashish Electro-nics–to the police station for dealing with fake products.

However, all the three resellers were released immediately as none of the seized

products was found fake at the police station. It may be recalled that HP and

Intel had conducted a series of similar raids during May 2003 in cities such as

Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai and some of the rese-llers were arrested and

reman-ded to police custody too.

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According to market sour-ces, many such cases, even two years old, are

pending before the court of law for further hea-ring and justice and materials

worth several lakh seized dur-ing the operation are stuck. "We really

wonder whether HP and other MNC companies have a lab to test the seized products

and prove we are gui-lty. Moreover, as the case is pending before the court for

further direction, which takes several months and years, the seized products

would expire and get damaged, while what is there to prove by the compa-nies.

Normally, ink in the cartri-dges gets dry after a certain period which also

damages the complete cartridge," said a lea-ding reseller based out of

Coimbatore.

"I am sure HP and other MNC companies would not be able to prove us

guilty and this is just an arm-twisting act to create fear in the resellers’

mind. We really wonder why MNCs and other authorities target us while they

cannot stop it at the source itself. If government departments and enforcement

wings are strict, how would a grey product flow into the country or how would

fake products be manufactured and circulated here. Have they ever identified and

plugged it at the source?," questioned another reseller from the same

market who said innocents like him are being targeted.

With most of the resellers opining that a company/agency should testify and

prove the product to be fake at the place of seizure itself, are questioning the

genuineness of such raids. "How could we believe that a company or an

agency or the enforcement wing would not manipulate with our seized stocks? What

is the guarantee as cartridges do not have any serial number or other

identification details to follow up?," remarked a leading reseller based

out of Ritchie Street in Chennai.

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Even at the various stages of trading between a distributor to authorized

reseller to other channels, it is very tough to identify the product as it does

not have any batch or serial number, say resellers.

"They give no chance for us to explain or prove that our products are

not fake. They come, they seize and they go," said another reseller in

Coim-batore. "Then we are summo-ned at the CB CID office or police station

where they file a FIR and take us into the custody under the clause–Under

reas-onable suspicion the investiga-ting officer can remand." However, many

resellers feel the arrest happens under the influence of companies with the

department officials. "We know how it works," he added.

During the recent raid, the officials have ‘seized’ over one lakh rupees

worth of material from both the resellers in Coimbatore. "Normally, in any

raids, we don’t get our stocks back and it can be treated as a loss for

us," said a reseller. "We can file a damage suit and defamation case

to make up our loses, but only when the present case is won, which will take

ages." Confirming the raids, Edward Rodrick, Director (Operations), EIPR,

said, "All I can say is we conducted the raid and seized some stocks from

them. Now, the case is pending before the court and I would not be able to

comment anything."

S Gopikrishna


Chennai

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