Snuggie Maker Sues Amazon for Trademark Infringement
Los Angeles – The creator of the Snuggie blanket, Allstar Marketing Group, along with two other companies that sell products on Amazon are in a lawsuit with the mega online retailer alleging that it committed trademark infringement. The lawsuit claims that Seattle-based Amazon is allowing many other competitors to flood Amazon’s marketplace with counterfeit items which is causing a loss in consumer good will and profit. ”
The alleged counterfeit items are being sold by companies in China, Japan, and Thailand. The counterfeits price their comparable items below market and otherwise try to confuse consumers into buying the counterfeit while believing it is the legitimate version. Online retailers have long been known as a counterfeiting haven because it is easy for counterfeiters to pop up and then disappear just as quickly when the infringement has been discovered. Amazon has actively taken a stance against counterfeit items but it is a never-ending task. To prevent the problem from occurring at all, companies like the NFL and Birkenstock refuse to sell their products on Amazon.
The three companies involved in this recent lawsuit include Allstar Marketing Group LLC, Ideavillage Products Corporation, and Intel Products Corporation. Ideavillage sells Copper Fit compression sleeves and Intel sells Magic Tracks toy racetracks. All three of the companies also sell As Seen on TV products. The counterfeiters on Amazon often use fake images of the products to entice buyers. At times it can be virtually impossible to determine which is the counterfeit and which is the legitimate product.
A few weeks ago, for the first time ever Amazon filed two of its own lawsuits against counterfeiters. The lawsuits are on behalf of TRX which is a maker of athletic training equipment, and Los Angeles-based Forearm Forklift which sells a patented device which facilitates picking up and moving large items. Both lawsuits are still pending and thus far representatives at Amazon aren’t commenting. However, sellers on Amazon can now be encouraged that Amazon is willing to take a more active role in preserving the integrity of the online marketplace. Amazon does have an anti-counterfeiting policy in place which states that “customers trust that they can always buy with confidence on Amazon.com.”
However, even when Amazon wins a lawsuit and kicks counterfeiters off the website, the victory can be short lived because the counterfeiter can simply create new accounts and sell the fake products again.