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IBM sues seller over alleged fake ThinkPad batteries

Power packs claimed to be a fire-risk too

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

IBM has accused a New York-based spare computer parts company of trademark infringement in a bid to stop the firm selling what it alleges are dangerous fakes. It's demanding $1m for each claimed counterfeit use of its logos.

In a lawsuit filed with the US District Court for Northern Ohio this month, IBM claims that Shentech.com is "offering counterfeit IBM products which pose a substantial threat to the safety of the consuming public".

Big Blue bases its allegations on the experiences of an Ohio consumer who bought a battery from Shentech.com to use in a Lenovo-made ThinkPad laptop. The battery subsequently caught fire, damaging the notebook. The buyer complained to Lenovo, which in turn told IBM.

The buyer maintains the replacement power-pack was sold as a genuine ThinkPad battery, but IBM alleges in the lawsuit that its investigation of the explosion revealed that the branded battery was not one it had made. To check, it ordered 12 more batteries from Shentech.com and discovered they were all fakes, the lawsuit states.

"Each battery was analysed," the complaint alleges. "Each battery is a counterfeit product."

The lawsuit asks the court to force Shentech.com to hand over all allegedly fake IBM batteries for safe disposal, along with all the profits the reseller has made from selling them. The computer giant wants to be awarded triple damages - amounting to $1m for each IBM-onwed trademark on each item said to be a counterfeit.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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