Check Out the Biggest E-Cig Industry Fights
The electronic cigarette industry is famous for controversy. Nearly every week, e-cigs are in the headlines where companies are feuding or the FDA is threatening to wipe out the right to use e-cigs in public. Behind to constant conflict, there have been a few huge battles that were really noteworthy. Here are three of the biggest e-cig industry fights we have seen to date.
NJOY vs. Victory
In November 2013, NJOY filed a lawsuit against Victory for patent and trade dress infringement. It all boiled down to packaging. NJOY is easily recognizable for their flip-top box that looks similar to a zippo lighter. Until this year, they were the only company using that look and so people normally knew NJOY products simply by the packaging.
Victory electronic cigarettes recently changed their packaging to a similar flip top style and NJOY executives were furious. They claimed that Victory infringed on their trade rights and took the matter to court. To put it simply, NJOY claims that Victory is copying their e-cig packaging and that they “unfairly attempted to gain an advantage in the electronic cigarette market by infringing on NJOY’s rights and attempting to trade off NJOY’s reputation for high quality electronic cigarettes.”
This whole battle might seem petty, but NJOY executives are passionate about protecting their unique designs. They want the company to be easily recognizable among the competition and insist that Victory has done something wrong by mimicking their designs. We’ll have to wait to see how the judge will rule to find out if they have a real legal argument.
Ruyan vs. US E-Cig Companies
Dragonite International Limited, formerly known as the Ruyan Group, is a Chinese company that invented the original electronic cigarette. Now that the e-cig is popular around the world, company executives claimed that United States companies were infringing on patent rights by selling their own electronic cigarettes. The filed an official lawsuit against 10 American companies including: Mistic E-Cigarettes, 21st Century Smoke, FIN E-Cigarettes, Blu Cigs, Logic, Metro, Safe Cig, NJOY, Cig2O, and Vapor Corp (Green Puffer, Fifty-One, and Krave). While most of the companies are still in a legal battle over this one, Lorillard (owner of Blu Cigs) managed to settle out of court.
FDA vs. Smoking Everywhere and NJOY
In early 2009, the FDA started seizing shipments of electronic cigarettes, claiming that the devices were drug-device products that needed preapproval and registration with the FDA. Smoking Everywhere proceeded to sue the FDA, claiming that they held no power over e-cigarettes because they are not drug delivery systems. NJOY soon joined Smoking Everywhere in the lawsuit, pursuing legal action against the FDA for blocking shipments. Nearly a year later, the FDA was finally ordered to stop blocking e-cig imports by Federal District Judge Richard Leon. Of course, they immediately filed an appeal and won a temporary stay of injunction that allowed them to continue blocking the shipments.
By June 2010, Smoking Everywhere had to pull out the lawsuit as the legal feeds and seizing of shipments were taking a huge toll on the business. NJOY kept with the fight and submitted a new brief claiming the FDA was causing harm to e-cig companies to conduct business by withholding shipments. Finally, in December 2010, a federal appeals court heard the case and ruled in favor of NJOY. Shipments were reinstated and the FDA decided against pressing the case into Supreme Court.
These are three of the most well known e-cig battles we have seen so far. What other e-cig industry fights have you heard about?