Juul Labs filed a complaint on Wednesday with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that 18 companies infringed on the company’s patents. The lawsuit claims that the listed companies “blatantly emulated the distinctive design” and urges the ITC to stop these products from being imported and sold on the US market, CNBC reported.
Most of the companies listed in the lawsuit are located in the U.S. and China with one other based in France. Juul filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year against 30 companies in China for allegedly selling counterfeit Juul products on eBay. According to the lawsuit, the companies were using the Juul design or name brand to sell the products, TechCrunch reported.
The latest lawsuit comes days after the FDA conducted a surprise inspection on the Juul headquarters in San Francisco, where it seized “thousands of pages of documents” related to how the company markets its products. The FDA earlier this month described Juul’s popularity among teens as an “epidemic.”
Counterfeit products are often sold without any age limitations, which might help more minors access the e-cigarettes, according to TechCrunch.
Regarding the lawsuit, Juul Labs wrote, “Whereas Juul Labs implements strict manufacturing and quality controls during the manufacturing of its products, little is known about how most of the accused devices are manufactured. Similarly, whereas Juul Labs applies strict age-gating when selling its products through its website, many of the accused products appear to be sold with little or no real age-verification processes.”
The company added that, unlike Juul, “the accused copy-cat products” allegedly try to attract younger e-cigarette users by marketing flavors such as, “Bubble Bubble,” “Apple Juice,” and “Sour Gummy.”