Empire Level is a company that makes construction tools such as levels. I have never used their product, well at least to my knowledge, but a lot of people do. Since it is a popular brand, there are counterfeiters. They leech on like parasites to anything that looks healthy that can help them survive and thrive.
I got to admit, it takes a lot of guts to go to a trade show in the US and display counterfeit products from a company like Empire, when their booth is in the same trade show. If that is not crazy enough, Empire Level was not able to eject them due to how slow the court process is.
A Mukwonago company that has fought Chinese manufacturers who have copied its products has sought additional help from a federal court in Las Vegas.
Empire Level Manufacturing Corp., which has made leveling and measuring tools since 1919, said Thursday it went to U.S. District Court of Nevada and filed papers aimed at stopping its competitors from displaying counterfeit items at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
Empire did not receive an immediate response from the court but says it’s hopeful the legal action will lead to a permanent exclusion order against the eight companies it says are counterfeiting its products.
Company President Jenni Becker said she’s seen the counterfeit items at other trade shows. She asked the companies to remove the items from their displays, but they put them back the next day.
“We refuse to sit still and allow the distinctive features of our products to be knocked off. It’s damaging to our company, and it’s not fair to the end customer who believes they’re getting a superior product when they’re not,” Becker said.
Empire took legal action against the Chinese companies while they were in the United States for the trade show. The legal proceedings are expected to be completed within two months, according to Empire.
One product, a 9-inch torpedo level, gets copied the most, Becker said.
Tool manufacturers found violating Empire Level’s intellectual property rights have been required to pull the look-alike products off their assembly lines and shelves. The company says it has issued dozens of cease-and-desist letters to Chinese manufacturers, U.S. distributors and retailers dealing in the counterfeit items.
What is Empire to do while waiting for the courts to decide?
Depends on what the trade show rules are. Maybe post a company employee next to the counterfeit booth and inform anyone who looks at that booth that they may be counterfeit. But that most likely is against the rules at the trade show.
Since this court decision will only matter for Empire Level, every other company that wants to eject counterfeiters from displaying products at trade shows will have to go through the same process. That is until the trade show makes a program where companies can eject these booths, like eBay’s VeRO does. No court decision needed for removing counterfeit products on eBay.