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I feel scammed…

January 25, 2023

…Is the opening line of HP’s trade dress complaint against eleven companies that was filed in the USA this week.

“I feel scammed” is just one of many complaints about alternative products that HP alleges are breaching HP’s trade dress.

For the non-lawyers, trade dress is a part of a trademark owners’ rights that protects their packaging, design, and the overall feel or appearance of a product. The Mandourlaw website has a good description of trade dress here.

The HP complaint is against defendants, Wiseta, Zhaicolor, Mooho, Rohon, Sheengo, Aboit, Halofax, X-E-Office, Ejet, Keenkle and Idahotoner, plius ten others for trade dress infringement, false advertising, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices, and related causes of action. According to the complaint, “the defendants reside and/or operate in the People’s Republic of China or other foreign jurisdictions with lax trademark enforcement systems or redistribute products from the same or similar sources in those locations.”

According to HP, the defendants’ own and operate ecommerce storefronts on one or more third-party platforms, including Amazon, Walmart, Newegg, and Temu where the digital imagery of product packaging and, in some cases, their actual product packaging are designed to confuse consumers into believing that consumers are purchasing HP Original ink or toner, when they are not.

HP further asserts that this practice seeks to “ensnare consumers at a glance, capitalizing on the quick purchasing decisions that consumers make once they recognize the trade dress of the ink or toner they typically use.”

Not what I ordered: Products are often promoted on the Amazon platform and the complaint alleges that customers buy the products thinking they are genuine HP products, but are disappointed when they clearly are not. Some of the online customer comments included “I feel SCAMMED!” “100% Misleading,” “Deceptive Packaging NOT HP PRODUCT!” “Don’t be fooled… It is not HP.” “False advertising! The picture on Amazon clearly shows the HP brand ink, but this is NOT from HP.”

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court of Northern District of California on the 23rd of January 2023 and HP demands a trial by jury and is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, damages and costs.

Categories : World Focus

Tags : HP IP Legal Online Retail USA

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