A Florida federal judge ordered the maker of Elfbar vape products, Shenzhen Weiboli Technology Co. Ltd., to stop marketing its e-cigarettes across the US. The ruling came after VPR Brands LP, which makes and sells Elf brand vapes, filed a complaint, claiming that Elfbar vapes infringe on its trademark. Judge Aileen Cannon, in her order, noted that VPR had demonstrated that Elfbar vapes cause confusion and that allowing the company to continue to sell them would harm VPR. Additionally, the judge recognized VPR's priority registration of the trademark and found that the Elfbar name could mislead consumers into thinking it is related to Elf brand vapes.
The case began when VPR requested an injunction blocking Shenzhen Weiboli from continuing to use the Elfbar mark, citing losses of around $100 million due to the alleged infringement's impact on future sales. Shenzhen Weiboli argued that VPR's trademark is not enforceable under the unlawful use doctrine since VPR's products are a new tobacco product that has no FDA approval. However, Judge Cannon dismissed this argument, noting that the Eleventh Circuit views the doctrine as an administrative tool for the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in trademark disputes.
The judge also ordered VPR to pay a $500,000 bond as a condition for the injunction, stating that the company wouldn't be required to pay the $200 million Shenzhen Weiboli had requested. Additionally, Judge Cannon denied Shenzhen Weiboli's request to reopen the evidentiary hearing about the injunction, stating that the court had already received a substantial amount of evidence and held two hearings over nine hours.
Joel Rothman, who represents VPR, expressed satisfaction with the ruling, saying that the injunction would enable the company to take swift action against infringers and counterfeiters in the marketplace.