The Maryland Daily Record may have said it best in an article that stated “two companies could be headed for a high noon showdown in U.S. District Court over copyright infringement on engraved firearm parts.”
In a federal lawsuit that made recent headlines in Maryland’s premier business and legal newspaper, Bowie & Jensen LLC is taking action on behalf of a local business owner against a Louisiana company and its owner whose sales tactics on Amazon.com are causing some serious damage.
The firm’s client, called Harford Engraving Service, sells custom engravings on firearm parts and components. The defendant, Thompson Tools, is alleged to be selling knock-off engravings on Amazon.com, and even pretending to be the firm’s Maryland-based company in order to divert sales.
“The Louisiana-based Thompson Tools has entered its selling information on Amazon in a way that effectively markets its own knockoff engravings as the trademarked engravings produced by Harford Engraving,” said Bowie & Jensen attorney Joshua Glikin.
Firearm parts serve as the main subject of this case, however the UPC code issue has broader implications for any business that falls victim to similar conduct by companies who sell knock-offs on Amazon.com and other internet retailers. It could potentially be a “smoking gun” for a large volume of other trademark infringement and false advertising claims.
As the Maryland Daily Record article explained, the original engraver in Maryland sells each of its engravings under unique UPC codes. Amazon.com associates the Maryland company’s engravings with those codes, and so any company that claims to be selling the Maryland company’s engravings can enter the same UPC code. When a consumer searches for the Maryland company’s engravings, every seller that is offering the same UPC-coded product comes up in the Amazon search results. This practice is fine, so long as everyone who claims to be selling the Maryland company’s engravings is selling a genuine article.
But according to the federal lawsuit that the firm recently filed, the Louisiana defendant is committing trademark infringement and false advertising by selling knock-off engravings and using the Maryland company’s UPC code on Amazon.com. Thus, consumers are led to the Louisiana company’s knock-offs, and not the original articles, when they search for the Maryland company’s engravings.
Businesses that are wronged by knock-off sellers on Amazon or other internet websites can stop the harm to their bottom lines by taking swift action. Bowie & Jensen partner Josh Glikin says that defendants will often stop their wrongful practices outright in response to learning a federal lawsuit is filed.
Contact Joshua Glikin for additional information. As a partner of the firm and manager of the litigation team in the intellectual property department, Glikin focuses his practice on internet, technology, privacy, trademark, patent and other intellectual property disputes.