Earlier this year, fans of the popular outdoor brand YETI were delighted to find their travel mugs for sale at a reduced price. The only problem? The sellers didn’t have the right to sell YETI products.
Amazon and Yeti have filed a joint lawsuit in the Western District of Washington against Michael and Karen White of San Diego for violating YETI’s intellectual property rights.
“Defendants have deceived Amazon’s and Yeti’s joint customers, infringed and misused Yeti’s (Intellectual property) rights, harmed the integrity of and customer trust in the Amazon store and tarnished Amazon’s and Yeti ’s brands,” the lawsuit reads.
Between February and September of 2020, the couple sold counterfeit Yeti brand products, including the ever-popular Yeti Rambler mugs, to customers on Amazon. The products were carefully designed to convey authenticity.
They sold the knock-off thermoses under various business names including Cyber Venez, Cyber Dream, and Vogue Cleaner.
To their credit (discredit?), the couple were incredibly dedicated to their grift. They continued to operate even after receiving multiple cease-and-desist orders from Yeti.
Amazon cracks down
Amazon has since shuttered their accounts and given refunds to customers who purchased the products.
The tech giant has cracked down on illegal merchandise being sold on its platform after complaints from the corporate and political realms. It recently launched a task force dedicated to thwarting the sale of illegal merchandise, investing over $500 million in the operation.
Being granted a trademark or copyright is an incredible achievement. It grants you the right to profit off your own unique ideas. When these rights are violated it’s infuriating because it means someone else is profiting off your own blood, sweat, and tears.
An experienced intellectual property lawyer can ensure your rights are protected, whether its filing the initial application or taking a violator to court.