BIC earns another legal win against knock-off lighters

Bic's U.S. headquarters in Shelton, Conn., in February 2019.

Bic's U.S. headquarters in Shelton, Conn., in February 2019.

Alexander Soule

SHELTON — BIC, the Shelton-based manufacturer of stationery, lighters and shavers, earned another legal victory in its fight against companies that import imitation lighters to the U.S.

BIC received a general exclusion order from the U.S. International Trade Commission that prevents the importation into the U.S. of all lighters that imitate BIC lighters’ iconic appearance regardless of who is importing the product.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce the order.

“This is the best outcome we could hope for — the registered trade dress and iconic design of BIC lighters will be protected by the U.S. government,” said Steve Burkhart, vice president and general counsel at BIC.

“Halting the importation of non-compliant, knock-off lighters into the U.S. market is not only a victory for BIC but for all of our consumers and customers who trust BIC lighters for our uncompromising commitment to safety, quality and reliability,” added Burkhart.

The ruling concludes an ITC investigation initiated by BIC on Dec. 6, 2018, to stop the unauthorized importation into the U.S. of low-quality, Chinese-made knock-off pocket lighters that imitate the design of BIC’s lighters without upholding BIC’s stringent safety and quality standards, a news release said.

BIC earlier had received a similar favorable resolution with Arrow Lighter Inc., a named respondent in the investigation, in January blocking the worldwide sale of certain unauthorized, imitation pocket lighters branded “MK.” The ITC also investigated Benxi Fenghe Lighter Co. Ltd., Excel Wholesale Distributors Inc., Wellpine Company Limited and Zhuoye Manufacturing Co. Ltd.