ELFBAR, a disposable e-cigarette brand, is now available in several countries overseas. But a U.S. District Court recently ordered its local distributor to stop selling ELFBAR e-cigarettes in the U.S. because of a temporary injunction sought by VPR Brands, LP (VPR) in a trademark infringement lawsuit against ELFBAR. The claim was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
ELFBAR then immediately appealed the District Court’s temporary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and asked the District Court to stay the temporary injunction pending appeal. At the same time, an ELFBAR distributor filed a petition to revoke VPR’s ELF registered trademark with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In addition, the trademark proceedings in the United States shall not affect the registration and use of the original ELFBAR trademark in China and other markets.
In response, ELFBAR’s legal representative said: “We have steadfastly defended our legal rights and interests throughout this litigation and have maintained active communication with our channel partners, and will continue to vigorously defend our rights and interests in the ongoing litigation.”
According to the legal representative, VPR filed a class-action lawsuit against ELFBAR and several distributors in October 2022, alleging infringement of the ELF trademark and patent. Over the past two years, VPR has filed lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of single-use vaping products, claiming that the patents it claims are infringed, only to withdraw the lawsuits or settle the cases for relatively small sums when the accused parties contest the merits of the cases.
ELFBAR further stated, “Although we are disappointed with the District court’s decision, the design trademarks we own, which are legally registered in the United States and are familiar to consumers, consisting of the distinctive bubble and flower patterns, will continue to represent the same products that we love so much with our consumers. At the same time, in order to protect the interests of our customers and channel partners, we have decided to launch a new brand named EBDESIGN, which will continue to provide high-quality and trusted products and services to the US market, using the previous graphic design trademark. The EBDESIGN brand has exactly the same functionality as the original brand, and we are confident that we will handle this transition responsibly and properly.”