On July 18, LAW360 News reported that the maker of the well-known Chinese disposable e-cigarette brand “ELFBAR” (iMiracle) has filed a petition with a Georgia federal judge to enjoin U.S.-based VPRBrandsLP from selling its “low-quality” and “copycat” e-cigarettes. “low quality” and “copycat” e-cigarettes in the United States.
In its motion seeking a preliminary injunction against VPRBrands, iMiracle claims that over the years, VPRBrands has seen ELFBAR become “one of the most successful brands in the country,” but that it has never attempted to compete on a level playing field, instead using “fraudulent Instead, it used “fraudulent trademark registrations” to block iMiracle, specifically launching its own “copycat product”.
The company said:
“While VPR and its licensees have just begun selling their copycat products, VPR’s intent to capitalize on iMiracle’s good reputation and word-of-mouth is clear based on our product’s claim to be the “Original ElfBar”.”
VPRBrands originally filed a lawsuit in October 2022 claiming that iMiracle and other companies infringed on the Elf name because this company held a registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It relied on its registration to persuade U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon to impose a preliminary injunction against iMiracle and the other companies in February 2023, prohibiting them from selling e-cigarettes bearing the Elf name.
Immediately thereafter, VPRBrands launched its own line of disposable e-cigarettes, the ElfbarBP5000 and ElfVPR7000. iMiracle claims that these products are an exact imitation of iMiracle’s ELFBAR e-cigarettes, which also include the same flavors, shapes, and color scheme.
iMiracle claims that VPRBrands’ introduction of disposable e-cigarettes immediately after it was banned from using the Elfbar name is a clear attempt to confuse consumer perception and passes over the excellent relationship iMiracle has built with its customers. iMiracle stipulated to a request that VPRBrands be enjoined from selling its products under the Elfbar name. They also require that the margin for a preliminary injunction be set at zero, making it clear that VPRBrands cannot be said to have lost normal profits.
It is important to note that when Judge Cannon enjoined iMiracle, she set the bond at $500,000, even though the businesses claimed they would lose tens of millions of dollars as a result of the injunction.
In June 2023, iMiracle filed a counterclaim, and another Chinese company, GDSigelei, also claimed that he first launched and marketed the “ElfTank” “sub-brand” in April 2016, and that he was therefore The companies claimed that VPRBrands’ “Elf” trademark was invalid, as they had a common law interest in the “Elf” name.
In addition to this, VPR’s “Elf” trademark was copied in its 2017 interaction with another Chinese company, CleanVaporTechnology. The company, a third-party platform manufacturer that is not a party to the lawsuit, is still a supplier to VPR, but they claim that VPR did not obtain the right to use the name from the company.
VPRBrands has filed a motion to dismiss the Georgia counterclaims, claiming that it should not be forced to deal with third-party platform counterclaims filed by foreign entities, saying that the first-to-file rule compels these lawsuits to have their cases heard in Florida.