SAN FRANCISCO (October 4, 2018) – Juul Labs, Inc. announced today that it has filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that multiple entities infringe the claims of several of Juul Labs’ patents, and requesting the ITC prevent the continued importation, distribution, selling, and marketing of the identified products in the United States. The ITC action is part of Juul Labs’ global efforts to defend the company’s intellectual property from infringers, and also serves an important role in the company’s effort to combat illegal underage use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) products. The ITC complaint alleges that over 15 entities, based in China, the United States, and France, blatantly develop and sell products based on Juul Labs’ patented technology. Juul Labs has begun a similar action in the United Kingdom.
Since the launch of the JUUL device, multiple ENDS products have appeared that copy Juul Labs’ technological innovations and elegant designs. As indicated in the ITC Complaint, whereas Juul Labs implements strict manufacturing and quality controls during the manufacturing of its products, little is known about how most of the accused devices are manufactured. Similarly, whereas Juul Labs applies strict age-gating when selling its products through its website, many of the accused products appear to be sold with little or no real age-verification processes. Notably, in contrast to Juul’s products, many of the accused copy-cat products include inappropriate flavors, seemingly directed to attract underage users – flavors like “Bubble Bubble,” “Apple Juice” and “Sour Gummy.”
“The rapid proliferation of products infringing on our intellectual property continues to increase as our market share grows,” said Kevin Burns, Chief Executive Officer of Juul Labs. “Protecting consumers and preventing underage use are critical priorities, and we will take decisive action where available to restrict illegal copy-cat products that undermine our efforts.”
The ITC complaint follows Juul Labs’ August trademark filing against 30 counterfeiters who were selling counterfeit products through the internet with no age verification. In addition, since 2018, Juul has worked to remove more than 17,000 improper listings from online marketplaces, including eBay and Amazon. Only authorized dealers are permitted to sell JUUL products.
“Intellectual property laws protect both innovation and consumers,” said Gerald Masoudi, Chief Legal Officer of Juul Labs. “Although we welcome legitimate competition, we will continue to utilize every legal option available to us to keep copy-cat and illegal counterfeit products off the market. Juul Labs believes that such products infringe our intellectual property and, in many cases, may present risks to consumers in terms of quality and underage access.”
You can read the full complaint here.
About JUUL Labs
JUUL Labs is a technology company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The company’s research shows that more than one million smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.
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