Electrical Business

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Breakers Unlimited found guilty of selling counterfeit Square D


July 19, 2009
By Anthony Capkun

Schneider Electric announced that, on June 25, a jury in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis found Breakers Unlimited Inc. (Noblesville, Ind.) guilty of purchasing and selling counterfeit Square D QO circuit breakers.

The counterfeit circuit breakers—all bearing trademarks registered to
Square D—were discovered by Schneider Electric during the prosecution
of its lawsuit against Breakers Unlimited and were sold by Breakers
Unlimited in 2005 and 2006. The amount of damages to be awarded—and the
scope of an injunction restricting Breakers’ continued involvement in
the market where counterfeit circuit breakers are bought and sold—have
yet to be decided by the court.

“This lawsuit is one example of Schneider Electric’s ongoing commitment
to preventing counterfeiting and protecting its customers, trademarks
and designs,” said Bill Snyder, vice-president, channel development,
Schneider Electric. “Through our efforts in this lawsuit and others
like it, we have kept more than 250,000 potentially hazardous
counterfeit goods out of the marketplace.”

Schneider Electric filed suit against Breakers Unlimited in June 2007,
alleging that it was guilty of selling counterfeit circuit breakers and
infringing on Square D’s trademarks in violation of federal law. During
the course of the lawsuit, Schneider Electric discovered that Breakers
Unlimited purchased counterfeit QO products from Pioneer Breaker &
Control Supply (Austin, Texas) and North American Breaker Co. Inc.
(Burbank, Calif.). Neither Pioneer Breaker nor North American Breaker
are authorized Square D company distributors. After three days of
testimony, the jury concluded that Breakers Unlimited had offered for
sale and sold substantial quantities of counterfeit Square D QO circuit
breakers it acquired from these two suppliers.

“Distributors, electrical contractors and users need to be aware that
there are hidden and potentially deadly hazards associated with
counterfeit circuit breakers,” said Jim Pauley, vice-president of
industry and government relations, Schneider Electric. “Counterfeit
breakers can fail to trip in the event of an overload or a short
circuit, creating a risk of fire. By identifying counterfeit products
and reporting counterfeiters, everyone in the industry can help prevent
serious injuries and save lives.”

To prevent the potential purchase of counterfeit products, customers
should continue to buy their Square D products from authorized Square D
distributors.

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