Shelton-based BIC has filed lawsuits before the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York to halt the importing and sales of Chinese pocket lighters designed to resemble the BIC brand of lighters.The imitation pocket lighters are sold under the brand names MK, TuTu and Star. BIC stated that it ran tests on the Chinese lighters and determined that they failed to meet the U.S. safety and quality standards required of the BIC product line. The ITC complaint also stated that the lawsuit’s defendants engaged in unlicensed importation and sales in the U.S. market. The ITC complaint cited Arrow Lighter Inc. doing business as MK Lighter Inc. and MK Lighter Co., Zhuoye Lighter Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Wellpine Co. Ltd., Benxi Fenghe Lighter Co. Ltd., Excel Wholesale Distributors Inc. and Milan Import Export Company, LLC.
“For more than 40 years, BIC’s pocket lighter, with its iconic look, has become famous in the minds of consumers and trusted for its consistent high-quality and unyielding commitment to safety,” said Steve Burkhart, vice president and general counsel at BIC. “The companies importing and selling these imitation lighters are attempting to free ride on BIC’s success by appropriating BIC’s distinctive registered trademarks and confusing American consumers into believing that they are buying a BIC product, which is trusted for its high-quality and safety. The confusion is real, and so are the consequences. As the industry leader, BIC is adamant about defending our consumers, customers’ employees and our brand, and that includes using every resource afforded under the law to remove these low-quality imitation products from the marketplace.”