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Businesses that purchase printers and toner cartridges from reputable brands such as Lexmark do so in good faith, as their products come with a certain guarantee of quality.

However, there are many criminal elements around the world who roll out counterfeit goods, in order to cash in on the goodwill people have towards a particular brand name.

This phenomenon is by no means exclusive to the IT industry, as sectors such as fashion are also plagued by a glut of fake and inferior goods coming on to the market. But since the problem still persists around the world, major names are having to take action to protect the integrity of their brand and the interests of buyers.

Lexmark, for instance, has launched a new campaign that highlights what steps channel partners can take to avoid being duped into buying and distributing a copy.

Mark Hiller, spokesman for the company, told IT Web that people often end up purchasing counterfeit goods because they lack knowledge about these specific products. As a result, Lexmark hopes placing a greater focus on education can yield positive results.

"Through secure partnerships with the channel, we are more likely to identify potential counterfeit operators and ensure that our distributors buy directly from us, thereby supplying resellers and the end-user with authentic Lexmark products," he commented.

Mr Hiller noted that the counterfeiting of printer supplies is proving to be a particular problem in Europe, as many countries that are located close to each other all have a different level of market maturity.

However, he said the European Union has responded by setting up the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Mr Hiller said this body is also using education to tackle counterfeiting, along with "publicity, lobbying, detection, enforcement and the development of anti-counterfeit technology such as holograms".

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