Italian customs officials recently seized 21 boxes with air conditioners illegally containing R-410A refrigerant, Honeywell International officials said.

The May 23 action was part of crackdown on bootlegging by Honeywell and Italian government officials. The units were sent to Italy by a Chinese manufacturer, Honeywell said.

Honeywell, which owns a European patent for R-410A, has a licensing program to encourage HVAC equipment makers in China to purchase refrigerant through approved suppliers.

Company officials said they are aggressively protecting patents and other intellectual property.