Counterfeit electronics are an ongoing challenge for the industry and have been the focus of costly anti-counterfeiting policies, procedures and technologies by companies around the world. Monster Inc., a manufacturer of high-end headphones, in conjunction with law enforcement officials, successfully used the U.K. Trade Marks Act to convict a counterfeiter, the company announced today.
Michael Reeder, 35, of Portsmouth, England, was convicted of 13 offences under the Trade Marks Act, following a complex 18-month operation conducted by the United Kingdom Trading Standards Service (TSS) in partnership with Monster. At his trial, Reeder denied the 13 offences but was found guilty of all counts and was scheduled to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on April 19. He faces a possible jail sentence or fines of thousands of pounds. In addition, a court hearing on June 21 will look into confiscating the money Reeder made from his illegal activities.
During a raid of Reeder’s premises, officials seized more than 2,000 items, including fake Monster items, as well as products from Speck, a leading California-based manufacturer of smartphone cases and other products. Other items found included counterfeit Sennheiser headphones and counterfeit Apple, Sony and Nintendo items.
Incidents of counterfeit electronics are on the rise, according to IHS.
In components, counterfeit incident reports from the beginning of 2012 through the end of August 2012 averaged 107.3 per month, up slightly from 107.1 in 2011. Counterfeit cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute, but a high-visibility case involving the sale of counterfeit semiconductors to the U.S. Department of Defense was successfully prosecuted in the U.S.
The U.S. has since passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires companies to comply with a series of procurement standards aimed at thwarting counterfeiting.
As a global leader in the battle against counterfeit sellers, Monster launched the initial investigation that led to the February 2011 raid resulting in Reeder’s arrest and conviction. The conviction follows the largest seizure ever of counterfeit Monster products in the U.K. and marks a major step forward in the fight to protect consumers from the economic injury – and the potential danger – of purchasing counterfeit, unregulated goods.
Reeder’s arrest and conviction came as the direct result of Monster’s close cooperation with the United Kingdom Trading Standards Service (TSS) in an exclusive alliance to fight illegal counterfeiting and protect consumers.
The combination of the Monster’s Global Brand Protection team’s resources with those of the TSS encompasses a vigorous and ongoing anti-counterfeit and diversion program in the U.K. Prior to the announcement of the alliance between Monster and the TSS, Monster had already assisted the TSS in several investigations and will continue working with the Service on upcoming raids in the near future. Monster is currently working with federal and state law enforcement in the U.S., as well as the EU, China, and Australia to stop the illegal manufacture and trade of counterfeit Monster products globally. The company has been successful with several key raids and arrests both in China and the U.S. and has a number of robust anti-counterfeit investigations underway.