IBM is suing web retailer Shentech for selling laptop batteries that catch fire, and allegedly are stamped with fake IBM logos.
The suit, filed on 20 November in the US, accuses Shentech of trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.
IBM says that a consumer in Ohio bought a battery from Shentech for a ThinkPad laptop. The battery overheated and caught fire, causing damage to the laptop, IBM said. The user reported the problem to Lenovo, which licences the IBM trademark. After examining the faulty battery, IBM discovered that it was not a genuine IBM battery, the company said in the suit.
IBM then ordered 12 batteries from Shentech and found them all to be fakes, IBM said.
IBM has asked the court to require Shentech to turn over all of the batteries so that IBM can destroy them. IBM also asks for all the profits that Shentech earned from the sale of the batteries. In addition, IBM wants treble damages or $1m per counterfeit mark per type of item sold.
The Shentech.com website continues to list ThinkPad batteries for sale, as well as a host of other electronic devices and components. Shentech appears to be a web-only operation, and describes the secret to success as its "ability to provide cutting edge computer technology parts at bargain prices."
Flammable laptop batteries are nothing new. In June Toshiba urged its customers to trade in potentially flammable laptop batteries, after a Toshiba notebook caught fire. Lenovo also recalled 205,000 faulty batteries in March.