DuPont identified Hangzhou Sporlan Heating and Refrigeration Company Ltd as a potential counterfeiter through a tip from another, unnamed, refrigerant manufacturer.
A raid of Hangzhou Sporlan facilities was performed by local law enforcement authorities and counterfeit cylinders and packaging were seized.
According to DuPont, the investigation confirmed that these were counterfeit refrigerant cylinders carrying the trademarks DuPont and SUVA as well as trademarks of another major manufacturer.
Hangzhou Sporlan was required to a pay damages to DuPont for the crime committed. In addition, Hangzhou Sporlan agreed to cease to use, advertise or otherwise infringe on the DuPont, SUVA and ISCEON trademarks and word marks. In addition, the agreement required that Hangzhou Sporlan reveal all their suppliers and information associated with bulk refrigerants, cylinders and carton packages of counterfeit goods so subsequent investigations can be pursued.
DuPont has not revealed whether the cylinders actually contained R134a, a sub-standard gas or a blend of other gases but DuPont Refrigerants’s global business manager Greg Rubin said “Counterfeit refrigerants present a danger to the marketplace, in terms of potential safety and environmental issues, as well as the possibility of equipment failure. In addition, counterfeit refrigerants can include CFCs and HCFCs in containers marked as HFCs which raises an illegal import issue and can be in violation of international treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol.”
This is not the first time DuPont has taken action in China. At the end of last year the US manufacturer completed a two-year effort to stop the counterfeit activity of another Chinese company, Quzhouzhou Fuming Co Ltd in Quzhou City.
In that case a raid in September 2011 resulted in the seizure of 1,500 empty refrigerant cylinders with DuPont Suva and Freon packaging, 1,000 counterfeit labels and 1,000 counterfeit DuPont Freon R22 cylinders. Despite a cease-and-desist letter, the company continued to sell the counterfeit refrigerants. A judicial settlement was reached in August 2012 with the Chinese company being required to pay the equivalent of $39,400 to the Chinese government and to pay $32,000 in damages and court costs to DuPont.
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