Yesterday, JUUL Labs filed a new complaint in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) against 24 entities based in the U. S., China, and Uruguay for selling so-called “JUUL-compatible” pods in the U.S. The copy-cat pod products, which violate a number of patents held by JUUL Labs, contain inappropriate flavors aimed at underage users with names such as “Pink Frosted Yellow Cakes,” “Berry Lemonade,” and “Strawberry Milk.”
These unauthorized pods contain ingredients that are unknown and unregulated, and which can be potentially hazardous to those who consume them. Yesterday’s action is a pivotal step to protect public health and JUUL Labs’ intellectual property.
Additionally, with flavors that are clearly marketed to kids, these copy-cat pods are attempting to attract users that should not be using JUUL products or any other nicotine delivery device. Many, if not all, of the copycats deploy little or no age-verification systems to keep their illicit pods from youth. It’s antithetical to JUUL’s mission to have youth use our products.
As was announced in our action plan last week, we will forcefully go after infringers and counterfeiters who flood the market with knock-off products containing unknown ingredients and flavors that sound like candy to target youth users.
Our plan is robust and ranges in actions from moving flavors out of retail and strengthening retail compliance to shutting down social media and heavily investing in future innovations. We are committed to working with FDA, state attorneys general, local municipalities, and community organizations to prevent youth access, appeal, and use of our products.
As JUUL copycats flood the market with illicit products that infringe on our intellectual property and endanger the public, we’re taking intensified steps to stop bad actors.
Copy-cat JUUL-compatible pods, like the ones made by many of the companies listed in the complaint, with flavors that are clearly marketed to kids, not only violate our intellectual property, but are dangerous, bad for public health, and do not share our mission of improving lives of adult smokers.
In addition to restricting infringing and counterfeit products through the legal system, JUUL Labs continues to work with online marketplaces, including eBay, Alibaba, and Amazon, to take down illegal sales of JUUL-related products. This year alone, JUUL Labs has worked to remove more than 23,000 third-party listings of JUUL products and counterfeits.
The 24 entities in the U.S., China, and Uruguay all sell infringing JUUL-compatible pods in the U.S., endanger the public, as their sourcing and ingredients are unknown, and use little or no-age verification processes to keep such pods out of the hands of youth. Authentic flavored JUUL Labs products are protected on our website by an industry-leading age verification system that guards against fake I.D.s, underage users, and bulk purchasers.
Regardless of actions by bad actors, our mission and goals will not be deterred: to eliminate cigarettes and improve the lives of the world’s one billion smokers.