February 11, 2019
BIC Corp. (“BIC”) has issued two trademark infringement complaints against Arrow Lighter, Zhuoye Lighter Manufacturing, Wellpine Company, Benxi Fenghe Lighter, Excel Wholesale Distributors and Milan Import Export Company at the U.S. International Trade Commission as well as in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
BIC claims that, not only have these companies infringed its intellectual property, but that the “knock-off” products meet neither the required safety standards, nor BIC’s own stringent safety and quality standards. Noting that the alleged knock-off products closely imitate the iconic appearance of BIC lighters, BIC is concerned that even the most savvy consumers will be confused by the knock-offs. Additionally, BIC notes that the defendants have imported the counterfeit lighters for sale without a licence and that these knock-off lighters have been offered for sale at lower prices than BIC lighters, attracting customers that would know the difference between the products.
BIC vice-president and general counsel, Steve Burkhart, has stated that “the companies importing and selling these imitation lighters are attempting to free ride on BIC's success by appropriating BIC's distinctive registered trademarks and confusing American consumers into believing that they are buying a BIC product, which is trusted for its high-quality and safety. The confusion is real, and so are the consequences.”
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Abid Khalid