Intel investigates sale of counterfeit chips

Semiconductor giant Intel has acknowledged that a number of counterfeit processors bearing its brand name are being sold in the US.

The chipmaker conceded that fake Core i7 processors had emerged on the market following allegations made by hardware website HardOCP late last week.

According to the site, a member of its online forum had received a processor from online component retailer Newegg, which included an instruction manual containing only blank pages and misspelled the word ‘socket’ on its packaging. The chip was also said to have arrived with a plastic mold of a heat sink and fan.

In an emailed statement, Intel commented that it was aware of the problem and subsequently investigating, but was unsure as to the number of counterfeit processors being sold, and how they had made their way to retailers.

"Intel has been made aware of the potential for counterfeit i7-920 packages in the marketplace and is working to identify how many and/or where they are being sold," Nick Jacobs, an Intel spokesman, acknowledged. "The examples we have seen are not Intel products but are counterfeits."

"Buyers should contact their place of purchase for a replacement and/or should contact their local law enforcement agency if the place of purchase refuses to help."

The sale of counterfeit IT products carries strict penalties, as shown last month when Chinese national Yongcai Lee was jailed for 30 months and fined $800,000 for selling on fake Cisco networking goods in the US.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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