1. In your role as chairman of the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC), what do you see as being the priorities for the year ahead?
The ISC has been very active in coordinating Customs enforcement and with the changes in the Customs organization that’s going to be a very important role going forward. Our Customs enforcement focuses on both anti-counterfeit and General Exclusion Order (GEO) compliance. So we intend to work intensely on that aspect.
Another area would be in Internet enforcement where the ISC has been influential in setting standards for listing cartridges for sale, and helping ISC members in their relationships with larger Internet marketplaces.
2. The ISC members are usually competitors in the marketplace, yet they seem to work well together in this Coalition. Why is this the case?
The ISC was set up in 1994 with a lot of foresight regarding this very issue. The practices we focus upon are unfair competition. We think everyone benefits—consumers, OEMs and also the Aftermarket—when we are compliant in our focus on unfair competition.
3. What was the focus on the 2018 conference in Las Vegas?
Change. We are all experiencing technological change, social change and changes in the market place. So this event focused upon enforcement and voluntary compliance as we move more towards Internet-based marketing and faster supply routes that potentially increase the availability of illegal products.
4. How serious is the problem of counterfeiting and infringing products?
When the Coalition started 24 years ago it focused on counterfeiting and what was known as “toner-phoner fraud”. There were some organizations at the time that would fraudulently sell toner through telephone scams.
Over the years, counterfeiting has become less of a problem. More recently, we have focused on GEO enforcement to bolster fair competition in the U.S. in regard to the non-sale of patent-infringing products.
5. How can, or should, the legitimate, non-infringing Aftermarket lend its support to the charter of the ISC?
In the early years there was probably some friction between the Aftermarket and the OEMs, and possibly misperceptions of how the Coalition would affect the Aftermarket. In recent years, however, we have seen exactly the opposite. If anything, the legitimate Aftermarket companies tell the OEMs we are not doing enough.
Much of the information we act upon comes from the Aftermarket.
The legitimate Aftermarket is also interested in representing their products correctly. So, we have had good cooperation with the Aftermarket in establishing the business solutions and guidelines for listing cartridges online. Those are being enforced very successfully, for example, on Amazon—another good example where the interests of the Coalition and the Aftermarket coincide.