Feds Seize Counterfeit Chinese Aftermarket Parts at SEMA
Six companies accused of patent and trademark infringementby Ciprian Florea, on
No fewer than six Chinese aftermarket companies are in trouble after federal marshals raided their booths at the 2016 SEMA Show, seizing parts, displays, and communications equipment, following a complaint filed by Omix-ADA. It all started when the U.S.-based manufacturer of Jeep aftermarket parts filed a complaint against Unity 4WD Accessories Co. from China claiming it was "displaying and selling knock-offs of several of its patented aftermarket parts." On Wednesday, feds raided several booths belonging to six firms.
The companies have been identified as Changzhou Jiulong Auto Lamps Factory, Guangzhou Vcan Electronic Technology Co., Maxgrand Ltd., Sanmak Lighting Co., Shenzen Unisun Technology Co., and Unity 4wd Accessories Co., and their booths at both the SEMA Show and Automotive Aftermaket Products Expo (AAPEX) were shut down immediately. The folks over at Four Wheeler captured the event and video.
In an official statement, Omix-ADA said it worked hand-in-hand with show management teams to follow clear guidelines designed to help combat infringing product at the show, which was enhanced with the court order."
Omix-ADA says the Chinese companies infringed upon a number of its patents and trademarks and advertised them as their own products at both SEMA and AAPEX. The American brand demands a trial by jury and a preliminary hearing was already set on November 10.
Omix-ADA is the world’s largest independent manufacturer with a full line of Jeep parts and currently offers almost 20,000 exterior, interior, and drivetrian components.
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Why it matters
Chinese knockoffs have flooded the international market for quite a few years, touching nearly every product category, from luxury products and musical instruments to aftermarket cars parts and even full-size vehicles. Several Chinese manufacturers have sold almost identical copies of various cars, including the Volkswagen Touareg, Range Rover Evoque, and Rolls-Royce Phantom on the local market, while e-commerce platforms such as eBay are packed with knockoff parts for Japanese, American, and European production models. Usually much cheaper that original parts, these are often preferred by customers all over the world. While some of these products have been stopped in court, some are still available and it seems Chinese companies aren’t going to stop anytime soon. But it appears that some of them have taken things too far by displaying their products at SEMA and are now going to pay for using someone else’s patents without approval. Needless to day, these kinds of actions should be taken more often as knockoff parts, although more affordable, will always lack the quality and reliability of original products. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit ends.