Chinese companies found guilty of making fake valves

Employees at two Chinese companies have been given criminal sentences for making and selling counterfeit Hopkinsons Valves, which are manufactured by the Weir Group Plc.

The managers of the companies, Shanghai Saimeng Mechatronic Engineering Co. Ltd and Yangzhou Yikai Machinery and Engineering Co. Ltd, were given 15 and 16 year custodial sentences and monetary fines.

In a country were counterfeiting and trademark infringement is rife, the authorities are sending out a clear message that those caught will be dealt with seriously.

The companies made and sold counterfeit Hopkinsons branded valves, which were installed in Chinese power stations.

The valves resulted in causing serious injuries and damage because they were defective.

The counterfeiters were arrested by China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) in late 2009 following in-depth investigations.

The companies had been making and selling the fake valves since 2006, telling their customers that they were imported from the UK. They made £1 million from the illegal business operation.

At the criminal trial in the Yangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in Jiangsu, the prosecution proved that the valve products were counterfeit, failed to comply with compulsory national standards and were of poor quality.

The Weir Group assisted the PSB in its investigation and welcomed the tough sentencing, saying the case would reassure its employees, customers and stakeholders that the unauthorised use of their trademark would not be tolerated.

Weir China managing director Cyril Leung said: “Counterfeiting not only negatively impacts the economy and innovation, but also puts customers and users at great risk.”

“Time and time again substandard counterfeit products have caused industrial down time and risk to human life. This case again highlights the importance to be placed on quality and safety.”

Alison Brown

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