Plantronics has reached an out-of-court settlement with a UK reseller in a dispute over illegal importation and sale of non-European gear.
James Products Limited (JPL) is a Dorset firm which sells cleaning products for a range of items including ink cartridges, spare parts, jewellery and electrical items. The firm was not immediately available to comment at the time of publication.
Plantronics claims to have received a "substantial sum" from the company as part of the dispute, which was settled before proceedings were issued.
The case forms part of a wider Plantronics initiative to crack down on grey market kit. At the end of last year, Plantronics issued legal proceedings against UK reseller Digiphone Limited.
Paul Dunne, Plantronics' head of UK and Ireland channel, described what the problem was with the products in question.
"Counterfeits are fakes, which means they haven't been made by the manufacturer," he said. "Grey goods are genuine goods which were made and sold for a different market outside Europe but have been illegally imported into Europe. Dealing in both is illegal.
"The grey goods in this case had been deliberately dressed up by someone with faked elements to the packaging to make them look as though they were legal European product. This made them a hybrid of counterfeit and grey."
As part of the settlement, JPL surrendered the goods in question which it still had in its possession to the vendor and also gave up information on its supplier.
Dunne added that it remains unclear whether JPL even knew about the origin of the kit.
"We do not presently know who did it but, whoever did, clearly wanted to disguise these non-European products as authorised for sale in Europe. It would not have been necessary in a legal case to prove that JPL knew about this either.
"People who deal in illegal products are liable even if they didn't know, which is why we say it is not worth taking the risk."
Dunne said the crackdown from Plantronics should come as good news to its channel partners.
"I think it shows we have a strong commitment to all the consumers of our product and that we have a big commitment to our channel partners. These are the guys who are driving sales, driving marketing activity and so on, and we really appreciate what they're doing. By taking action like this, we're being clear to the market that we won't tolerate it."
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