After enduring years of revenue lost to product counterfeiters, Grenco Science, maker of the G-Pen brand vaporizer, finally struck back in court. In January, the Los Angeles-based company sued more than 65 different online retailers selling fake G-Pen products, asking for restraining orders and monetary damages.
The brand pirates were mostly based in China. Some of them settled out of court with Grenco, but most simply ignored the lawsuit. As a result, a federal judge in Illinois recently granted the vaporizer manufacturer $47 million in damages–$1 million each from the 47 companies found to have infringed on Grenco’s trademarks.
Will Grenco collect all that money? Probably not. But the court victory at least sends a signal to others who might consider brand piracy: The trademark holders may haul you into court. And when they win, it’s costly for the pirates.
According to court documents and a news release provided by Grenco Science, the court handed down a judgment not only for its monetary purposes, but to immediately halt sales of the unauthorized products.
“This win represents the first of many in a continued effort against counterfeiters unlawfully infringing upon our intellectual property,” Grenco Chief Operating Officer Anthony Marino stated. “And while we’re thrilled with this initial outcome, let this serve as notice that we’re only getting started.”
According to court documents, the Los Angeles-based company has been the victim of counterfeiting for years. Most of the fake products were produced in China, and other overseas countries, and sold online.
Most of the companies named in the lawsuit did not respond, let alone show up in court. Chris Folkerts, CEO of Grenco Science, told Leafly that there were several different ways people were selling the counterfeit products online.
“The G Pen brand is continually infringed upon at multiple levels of sale across the world,” he said. “While the majority comes from online, brick and mortar locations also service a large part of the problem.” Folkerts added that Grenco officials took the time to identify and tracked down the companies that were stealing Grenco’s intellectual property.
“All companies were identified prior to filing suit through an extensive verification process,” Folkerts told Leafly. “This entailed establishing a framework of parameters used to qualify each defendant before ultimately prosecuting for unlawful infringement upon our Intellectual property.”
“Of the 65 defendants in this case, 18 of them settled prior to default judgment for an undisclosed amount,” Folkerts told Leafly. “For each of the remaining 47 defendants, The Court awarded statutory damages in the amount of $1,000,000, including a permanent injunction preventing further unauthorized use of the GRENCO SCIENCE trademarks.”
When asked if all the hassle and money spent on legal team work was worth it, Folkerts said absolutely.
“We all feel that this represents a major win for the company in an ongoing battle. While protecting, intellectual property comes at a cost, it’s in the best interest of the company, industry and the end consumer that we do everything we can to keep fake and potentially harmful products off the streets.”