Canon blocks key route for counterfeiters into US market

Photography giant Canon has reached an agreement with a logistics company headquartered in China that it says will close off an important route for counterfeit accessories like camera batteries entering into the US.

The agreement has been some time in the making, coming more than two years after Canon started investigating the scheme adopted by China-based sellers of counterfeits.

Instead of shipping the goods directly to North American consumers, the Chinese sellers send their goods in bulk to large fulfilment warehouses that are located in the US, which then ship them on to the end customer.

This method "not only enables China-based merchants to indirectly ship their counterfeit goods swiftly to American and Canadian consumers, but also makes it harder for branded manufacturers to track and prevent the flow of counterfeit goods," said Canon in a statement.

"We were able to find an innovative solution by proceeding directly against the fulfilment/warehouser to halt the distribution of these fake goods in the US," said Seymour Liebman, Canon USA's general counsel.

"We believe that we are the first intellectual property owner to successfully stop this new method of importation and distribution, and we hope other companies will follow our lead and utilise this novel approach to stopping counterfeiters," he added.

The identities of the logistics firm and its US-based fulfilment unit have not been disclosed.

Canon has been hit by counterfeit lithium-ion battery packs and chargers, mainly for its digital still compact, SLR and digital video cameras, on sale mainly on Internet auction sites.

In many cases, the counterfeits are not equipped with safety features that meet quality standards, so pose a risk of product malfunction, the generation of abnormal amount of heat that could lead to explosion or fire, and potentially injuries to users such as burns and blindness.

In 2020, Canon won a lawsuit against eBay users selling counterfeit copies of its equipment.

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