ELFBAR is currently facing legal issues within the United States. This includes a ban on marketing under the name of ELFBAR, as well as also being sued for trademark and patent infringement.
All of this has been initiated by VPR Brands, a Florida-based vape company that has already demonstrated a history of suing various companies throughout the vaping industry.
ELFBAR is one of the most popular disposable vapes in the world at the moment, if not the most. When it comes to the UK, ELFBAR reigns supreme in the disposable segment. The brand is owned by iMiracle, which is a sub brand that is owned by Shenzhen Weiboli Technology Co., a huge manufacturer based in the vape capital of the world Shenzhen, China.
According to VPR Brands, the alleged infringements are costing roughly $100 million.
The lawsuit and marketing ban has left the Chinese company in a fairly problematic situation and they have reacted quickly to pivot out of losing the ability to sell in one of the biggest markets.
As with many trademark battles, timing is everything and unfortunately for the Chinese company, timing has not been on their side in this case.
This is very often the case when it comes to Chinese replicates and copycats. These trademarks and patents are essentially filed for cases like this where legal action needs to be taken against copycats.
VPR applied for their trademark, for the name ELF, back in 2017. It was then registered in 2018, which is the same year that the ELFBAR that everyone now knows came to the market.
It was only in 2020 when the Chinese ELFBAR applied for their trademark for the name. This was then officially registered in 2021.
This begs the question, if both trademarks were accepted and registered, on what grounds did the federal judge bar all marketing of ELFBAR in the US?
ELFBAR Import Injunction
US District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered that all ELFBAR marketing be stopped after determining that VPR Brands will likely be successful in their trademark infringement lawsuit. This came into effect on February 23, 2023.
As mentioned, when it comes to trademark infringement, timing is key.
Judge Cannon determined that the VPR Brands trademark takes priority given that it was registered first. This is obviously one of the main reasons that Judge Cannon believes VPR will be successful in their lawsuit.
This is also not the first time VPR Brands has taken legal actions with trademark and patent infringements. By and large, the company’s legal history can be considered litigious at best.
The company managed to acquire over $500,000 in settlements in March, 2022.
Along with the trademark for the ELF name, they own a number of patents based on electronic cigarettes.
With a history of lawsuits and settlements like this, VPR Brands must have been all but ecstatic when the popularity of ELFBAR products began to surge. This likely signified a potentially huge pay day.
What is more noteworthy is that VPR only recently created their ELF branded website, with products bearing a striking similarity with the already existing ELFBAR. This was likely done to bolster their case against the Chinese product.
For anyone paying attention to the disposable vape market, these products are hugely similar. This is mainly based on the simplicity of the devices, which is one of the primary reasons manufacturers are flooding the market with them.
The simplicity of their design leads to larger profit margins.
Of course, the Chinese company has not taken this lying down. Aside from challenging the lawsuit, iMiracle has decided a name change may be what is required for the US market.
The Start of EBDESIGN
As to be expected, the Chinese company was not going to just accept the trade injunction. In efforts to resume sales in the US, iMiracle has released EBDESIGN, which will replace the ELFBAR brand locally.
Of course, this has the potential to cause confusion and lose a bit of revenue within the US market.
To avoid this as best as possible, ELFBAR products, all of which have a device model number, will reformat their labeling. The main changes will be the EBDESIGN label being made smaller, while the product number is made larger.
The aim is for consumers to more easily see their preferred model and continue to purchase it, despite not having the original ELFBAR name.
However, this also presents the opportunity for counterfeiters and fakes to capitalize on the confusion.
Undoubtedly, there will be those hoping to use the name change to their benefit. The fact that ELFBAR is one of the most popular disposable products in the world means the opportunity is too good to pass up on.
Interestingly, this may not even be limited to the US where the name change is occuring.
Counterfeiters may attempt to sell fake EBDESIGN products in the UK, where these products are dominating, by using the existing product name for quick profits. This would most likely be the result of how closely the US vaping industry is watched globally.
This is a problem that ELFBAR’s notoriety has already caused. They released a global statement last year condemning the surge of fake versions of their products. This has even led to the emergence of the #SayNotoFakeEFLBAR tag.
As part of this, the company has urged consumers to make use of their anti-counterfeiting QR codes, which are proudly displayed on all of their packaging.
This will likely be an invaluable way to prevent counterfeiters from capitalizing on this name change.
ELFBAR is facing a challenging legal situation in the United States as the result of a local company, VPR Brands, filing patent and trademark infringement lawsuits. A federal judge has barred all marketing of ELFBAR products in the country, basing her decision on the likelihood of these infringement lawsuits being successful for VPR.
In an attempt to avoid huge losses in sales while the infringement claims are reviewed, the Chinese company has rebranded their products under the EBDESIGN name for the US alone.