Smoore wins $5.4m damages in counterfeit vape lawsuit

Chinese e-cigarette company Smoore has won a damages award against more than 100 defendants it accused of counterfeiting its Vaporesso brand.

The verdict in a New York federal court orders that Smoore receive $50,000 per defendant – equivalent to $5.4m overall – and implements a permanent injunction on the sale of Vaporesso goods or other Smoore product covered by trademarks.

Shenzhen-based Smoore filed the complaint in October, claiming trademark counterfeiting and infringement against defendants who were located in China but conducting business in the US and other countries, generally using storefronts on online marketplaces.

In the same lawsuits, Smoore settled with a significant number of defendant sellers who paid compensation for infringement and cooperated to identify their sources of supply of counterfeit products.

Counterfeit and unapproved vaping products pose a very serious health concern to users as they are likely manufactured in unregulated facilities with unverified ingredients.

There is thought to be high volumes of illegal vapes in the illicit supply chain, which is particularly concerning given the outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the US that peaked just over a year ago.

Colour-shifting film: A proven, anti-counterfeiting solution for brand protection and product authentication

Often in these cases the damages aren’t collected by the plaintiff because the defendants hide behind anonymous accounts on platforms like Amazon, eBay and Wish, and there are calls in the US to force online retailers to harvest seller contact details before they are allowed to set up storefonts.

According to Frost & Sullivan, Smoore is the world's largest vaping device manufacturer in terms of revenue, accounting for 16.5 per cent of total market share, with sales growing by more than 100 per cent for the last three financial years.

It sells its own nicotine and cannabis oil vaping devices as well as manufacturing devices and components for other companies. Other brands made by Smoore include CCELL, FEELM, Revenant and Renova, and F&S says it is now bigger than US producer Juul – which has its own problems with counterfeiters.

The 14-year-old company made its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July, raising more than $900m.

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