Global technology company Epson has underlined the importance of businesses and consumers sticking to official channels when purchasing its products after a Newbury-based company in the UK pleaded guilty to supplying counterfeit goods.

West Berkshire Trading Standards initiated a prosecution against Just Lamps after it emerged that the firm had supplied counterfeit lamps to Germany which had resulted in serious damage to an Epson projector. A total of 67 lamps were removed from Just Lamp’s premises for further examination, with all of those products found to be counterfeit.

After a two-day trial at Reading Magistrates Court, Just Lamps pleaded guilty to supplying counterfeit Epson lamps and was sentenced to pay legal costs, including a fine and forfeiture order of any counterfeit lamps in its possession.

Neil Colquhoun, director of visual imaging at Epson, moved to underline his company's commitment to protecting customers from fake products, saying: “Counterfeit lamps are not rigorously tested and many have proved to be dangerous, causing projectors to overheat, melt and in some cases for lamps to explode.

“Quite apart from the financial cost of replacing valuable projectors damaged by counterfeit lamps, this has potentially serious public health and safety implications. Our advice to professionals and home users is to purchase only genuine replacements directly from a certified Epson reseller or through Epson's own online store.”

Epson says its global intellectual property team collaborates with other consumer supplies manufacturers, via the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, as well as policy makers and law enforcement bodies around the world, to identify and restrict counterfeit operations. There is also a specialised team at Epson that focuses on online infringement.

A recent report from domain name business, Net Names, suggested that counterfeiting is expanding by around 15% globally each year and it cited the growth of a fragmented internet landscape as one of the key drivers of this trend. The prevalence of rogue websites, online auction sites and digital piracy is perpetuating the problem, according to the study.

Epson UK

NetNames