In September of 2013, NJOY, the world leader in electronic cigarettes, filed a lawsuit against Victory Electronic Cigarettes and Victory Electronic Cigarettes Inc. claiming that Victory was infringing on their patent rights and case trade rights. The patent in question was U.S. patent number 8,539,959. The patent concerns the details of methods used to make NJOY electronic cigarettes.
Image is Everything
It can be said that the majority of sales today for almost any product on the market are based on branding rather than quality. The media devotes a lot of attention to branding and consumers respond as expected. In other words, image is everything. NJOY learned that very quickly and ran with it. More than that, they created a quality product that responds to the needs of smokers in a way that no other company had done on such a large scale.
A good portion of the things that makes NJOY e cigs so popular is the fact that they mimic everything about a tobacco cigarette while not being an actual tobacco cigarette. From the inclusion of nicotine and the ability to go through the same motions that tobacco smokers go through to the very “pack” that the e cigs are sold in. NJOY really did pioneer providing smokers a way to have the complete smoking experience without smoking a tobacco cigarette. Apparently, Victory tried to capitalize on the brilliance of NJOY and NJOY had to call them out on it.
Victory used every technique that NJOY used, but they didn’t have the advantage of being the company that designed the e cigs or the packaging that they came in. As soon as the patent was approved, that meant Victory was breaking the law.
NJOY Goes a Step Further
NJOY was not worried about being associated with Victory. There wasn’t even any concern that Victory was going to take its image to the heights that NJOY is at because other than having a top quality product, NJOY brings integrity to the table as well and promotes responsible use of vapor. They championed the We Card program in an effort to prevent minors from using e cigs and they were the first e cigarette company to do so. The problem is that it simply wasn’t right for Victory to use the results of the hard work of the marketing and design teams at NJOY to make a profit for themselves.
In the end, NJOY won the lawsuit and the case was settled. Victory agreed to stop infringing on the patent rights. They also agreed to stop infringing on case trade rights. This wasn’t about greed. It was about doing your own homework and using your own ideas to build your business. NJOY is popular because they have addressed concerns of smokers as well as parents in the best ways that they could. No other company should attempt to trade on that, unless they have produced results doing so.
NJOY sells rechargeable as well as disposable electronic cigarettes. They are in over 90,000 stores in the US alone. They are not just the top standard when it comes to e cigarettes; they are the top standard when it comes to benefitting the public and employing sound business practices. While we would like to see more companies jump in on the trend, they have to do it legally. The results of this lawsuit prove that. While some may argue that this is a case of a larger company bullying a smaller one, we disagree. There is plenty of room in the e cig market for new competitors, they simply need to do business on their own terms. While this is one of the first “vapor lawsuits” to make big headlines it certainly will not be the last. Vapor has become big business, which breeds lawsuits in many cases.