Injection and blow molder Solo Inc. waged a big battle when it found one of its products in the National Hardware Show booth of Chinese competitor Zhejiang Shixia Sprayer Co. Ltd.
Solo officials called on federal agents to seize counterfeit sprayers Shixia was exhibiting under the SeeSa brand name at the show, held May 8-10 in Orlando, Fla.
Solo President David Longfield said the incident is the latest in a long list of trademark infractions involving Shixia, which is based in Huangyan, China.
``We are very aggressive in the protection of our patents and trademarks, and have had repeated communications and confrontation with Zhejiang Shixia over the last several years, particularly regarding our Model 425 professional backpack sprayer,'' Longfield said in a news release.
Solo blow molds the sprayer at its headquarters facility in Newport News, Va.
Shixia officials did not respond to requests for comment.
``One of Solo's sales reps saw counterfeit units at the hardware show,'' Solo spokesman Michael Isser said in a May 21 phone interview. ``They contacted their lawyer and notified Homeland Security, [which] seized the sprayers.''
Chinese firms have been identified as major offenders in the intellectual property rights area, said John Huddle, Solo's lawyer.
``Companies like Solo experience that firsthand. There is a lack of understanding in some cases, and cultural differences as well. In this case, Solo has several registered trademarks that have been showing up in the U.S. market on these copies,'' he said.
``Trademarks have to be protected by the owners of the mark, because that's how the market identifies product.''