What do mattress tags and UPC labels now share in common? Remove either one and you might find yourself on the business end of a lawsuit.
August 6, 2009 § Leave a comment
A recent ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, upheld a lower court’s contention that Universal Product Code (UPC) labels are an important security and quality control measure for consumer products and, should a retailer sell a product where one has been removed, it could be grounds for a trademark infringement suit.
On June 19th, the second circuit judge ruled against CVS on behalf of Davidoff Parfums for the sale and possession of so-called “de-coded” goods, on which the UPCs had been removed from the packages or from the bottles themselves. The labels had been snipped, ground, or dissolved off the product. The court found that by removing these labels the producer was unable to protect its brand and ensure value of its product.
“This case serves as a warning to manufacturers and retailers alike,” concluded Tara A. Branscom, a partner with LeClairRyan, handling intellectual property and technology matters. “Trademarks help guarantee, to the consuming public, that goods will be of the same quality regardless of where they are sold.”
This news comes as a significant victory for manufacturers and the general public, as well as the greater fight against fakes. Solidifying the role of any security measure to prevent counterfeiting and ensure greater quality ‘marks’ a most positive step.
So decode at your own peril. If you must, if you really must, save the solvents, scissors and files for the after-purchase-party.