Industry Calls for More Arrests in Spain

Many are still talking about the arrest of three Chinese people over the sale of fake and infringing printer cartridges in Toledo, Spain.

Recycling Times’ Spanish correspondent José Bustamante reports, “Companies trading with patent infringing and counterfeit printer cartridges are now facing the consequences of their illegal actions. Countries like Spain, which has allegedly been providing safe haven for those wanting to push illegal products into the lucrative European market, are tightening surveillance and dedicating funds and efforts in order to stop these criminal activities.”

Bustamante explains that Spain has often been considered by many (not without reason) to be one of the Europe’s easy gateways for patent infringing and counterfeit ink and toner cartridges. Late last week, Spanish Guardia Civil (public security force) seized over 70,000 ink cartridges in 11 industrial units in Numancia de la Sagra, Toledo, Spain. Further, as reported by Europa Press, three people—all Chinese nationals—were arrested on charges of intellectual property infringement.

Industry sources in Spain have told Recycling Times that despite these arrests and seizures, the company—which allegedly continues to operate under the name of Aigo—is still offering cartridges to any who are willing to buy. These sources also claim the first seizures took place over a month ago.

In recent months, there have been a number of major operations in Spain targeting the illegal trade of pharmaceutical products, electronics, tobacco and other goods. Recycling Times has sought out industry players to share their insights about this latest case and the general situation of the illegal trade of printer cartridges in Spain.

Alejandro J. Pedro, Bioservice’s Founder and General Manager explains: “Importing and selling infringing and counterfeit cartridges in Spain has been fairly easy. We see how organizations (mostly Asian) import the products through different companies that are created and then disappear or change names. This affects printer cartridges and many other industries.” Joaquín Fernández, Director at Planet Solutions, adds: “It seems to be part of our culture. Spain is a land of guile and craftiness and it seems that printer cartridges are particularly prone to crooked business deals. Police operations of this kind are cosmetic, scarce and have had little repercussion.”

Pedro sees this latest seizure and arrest as a ray of hope for the legitimate aftermarket print consumables industry: “These companies and their doings are well known, but up to now next-to-nothing was done. We hope police continue this strategy, because there are many other companies of this kind still operating.” He adds: “Police operations like this have a positive impact in the legitimate consumables market: Remanufactured cartridges are seen as a more sensible option and benefit the industry as a whole. We just hope that this company will not open again under a new name as we have seen in the past.”

Fernández partially agrees: “Obviously, it gives us some hope, it looks like the authorities are finally chasing this illegal trade. But we are faced with a different, uglier, reality. Infringing compatible products are flooding the market at ridiculous prices, making it almost impossible to stay in business with remanufactured products of the finest quality.” And he continues: “At Planet Solutions, with our legal brand of remanufactured cartridges, we have been supporting the recycling business since 1997. We call on the authorities to get involved in the defence and promotion of our industry.”

Recycling Times operates an annual trade show event in Barcelona, the next to be held January 14 and 15, 2016 in Hall 2, at the Fira Montjuïc Exhibition Centre. In January 2015, OEMs visited the show with Spanish authorities and gave the event a “clean bill of health” stating illegal cartridges and supplies were not on show, nor being promoted. More information about the next event is at

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