HPE wins illegal discounts case

spockICP has been told to pay up £1.95 million to HPE for  fraudulently claiming than £1.5m worth of discounts on its products.

Matthew Archer, ICP’s managing director, and the company itself were sued in a trial which took place in April. HPE claimed Archer and ICP were involved in fraud, conspiracy and inducement of breach of contract.

The case centred on an “abuse” of HPE’s partner programmes and discounts, with the defendants “fraudulently obtaining” over £1.5 million in discounts on HPE products, HPE successfully claimed.

Marc Waters, HPE’s interim managing director, said the firm is “satisfied” with the verdict.

“Grey marketing is a serious problem for the industry in terms of lost sales, margin erosion, poor customer experiences and reputational damage,” he said. “HPE has a well-established grey market avoidance programme and the outcome of this case clearly demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take court action to enforce our rights if required.

“We would also encourage anyone concerned about potential fraudulent activity to contact our brand protection team at and we will investigate as appropriate.”

Grey market activity is a long-standing issue in the channel and in recent months some vendors have stepped up their efforts to protect their brands. Headset vendor Plantronics settled a number of cases on the issue since the end of last year.

ICP said in a statement that it was disappointed and surprised by the outcome.

“We strongly deny any wrongdoing and must now consider all options available to us.”