YETI Coolers Sues Again—This Time Against Alibaba
YETI Coolers has once again found itself in a legal battle involving knock-off products. This time, the Texas company is accusing Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce platform that has been involved in numerous counterfeiting scandals, of selling products in violation of federal import law.
According to Law360, the U.S. International Trade Commission received a complaint on Sept. 28 from YETI, claiming that Alibaba and e-commerce company Dunhuang Group violated a section of the Tariff Act by selling insulated drinkware products through the Alibaba platform that infringed on YETI's copyrights and trademarks, and violated design patents.
YETI has taken similar legal action against the likes of Home Depot., Axis Cups, Walmart and more.
The company claims that by selling through its own e-commerce platform, Alibaba is undercutting YETI's market share. What's more, Aliexpress, one of the e-commerce sites, has what Law360 called "ghost stores," which barely change the name of a well-known brand (in this case YETI), and sell similar goods. Some of the ghost stores include "Ye Ti Store" and "YE-TI Camo Cups Store." These businesses apparently have no physical address, and exist only to sell knock-off brands, YETI contended.
YETI also argued that Alibaba advertised fake goods when users search for similar products. One search yielded a stainless steel glass with YETI's proprietary "Rambler" trademark in the product's description, and the word "Yeti" available in photos.
Alibaba defended its innocence, however.
"This action has no merit," a representative told Law360. "We will defend ourselves vigorously and we will win."
Related story: The Counterfeit Problem Is Bigger Than Any Parking Lot or Flea Market
Brendan Menapace is the senior digital editor for Promo Marketing. While writing and editing stories come naturally to him, writing his own bio does not.