Jp Magazine contributor Traci Clark was a first-hand witness to an offshore exhibitor being served papers at the 2016 SEMA Show.
Well-known U.S.-based Jeep accessory manufacturer Omix-ADA noticed suspiciously familiar products being displayed at the show by Unity 4WD Accessories Co., Limited of Guangzhou, China.
The company filed a civil complaint with the U.S. District Court, and obtained a summons and civil action for a temporary restraining order and seizure of goods. U.S. Marshals served papers to the company’s representatives, and ordered the display dismantled and the goods in question removed.
From what we could gather from the photos we could get of the papers, it appears the company’s representatives will be required to appear in U.S. court within 21 days for a hearing.
Omix-ADA director of marketing Henk Van Dongen said that the company has noticed more and more counterfeit products appearing on the market over the past year. The company contacted SEMA and local attorneys for assistance in pursuing the counterfeiters. The company holds design patents on many of its products. “It’s expensive to develop products and protect them, but if the patents get violated, we have to protect them,” Henk stated.
“This is for our industry, it isn’t just about Omix-ADA, it’s about our industry and our customers, and those that are spending money on product development, and are being blatantly ripped off with merchandise that is being presented as our product, or something like our product,” Henk said. “It’s important for us that we make it known that we did this, and we will continue to do this. It’s kind of like playing whack-a-mole, but it’s good for everybody.” Unity 4WD Accessories was reportedly one of six overseas vendors at this year’s SEMA Show that were served papers and asked to take down their displays.
Official Statement from Omix-ADA
On Tuesday, November 2, the US Marshal’s office conducted a search and seizure of a variety of automotive aftermarket products as part of US District Court, Civil Complaint number 2:16-cv-02527-APG-CWH, due to claimed infringements of Omix-ADA®‘s patents and trademarks on products sold under the Rugged Ridge® brand. Based upon showing that it was likely to succeed on the merits of its claims for patent and trademark infringement, the district court granted Omix-ADA a restraining order against the certain parts suppliers that led to the search and seizure.
The seizures took place at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show and Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), taking place this week in Las Vegas. Omix-ADA worked hand-in-hand with show management teams to follow clear guidelines designed to help combat infringing product at the show, which was enhanced with the court order. Counterfeit product and copyright infringement is in direct violation of SEMA and AAPEX policies and the managing parties have taken appropriate action to remove violating exhibitors from the premises.
As a dedicated exhibitor, Omix-ADA would like to thank SEMA and AAPEX management for their help and cooperation in working with the company to help protect its patent and trademark rights, as well as the aftermarket customers. Omix-ADA is also pursuing litigation with several companies selling infringing product at various online retailers.
The company views counterfeiting and infringement as a serious and widespread problem in the aftermarket industry and one that can be combatted through proper legal channels, and would encourage other members of the aftermarket industry to follow a similar path.