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Blu Ecigs Strikes Back! Challenges Zippo’s Claims In Court

By Matt McConnell

Wednesday October 8, 2014
RJ Reynolds prefers the Vuse to Blu Cigs
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Just a short time ago, a German court ordered Blu Ecigs to stop selling its products in Germany. The reason cited by the court was “trademark confusion”.

The reportedly aggrieved party was none other than the world famous Zippo Lighters.

In 2007, Zippo released a new blue flame, butane lighter that they named, Blu. You have probably heard of Zippo. Their famous lighters have been collected for generations.  Perhaps, however, you haven’t heard of Zippo Blu.

The branding and consumer recognition of Zippo Blu has not been as successful as Zippo would have hoped. Have they found a back door into generating name recognition and building a brand?

Blu Ecigs is saying exactly that. Blu Cigs is a worldwide-recognized brand thanks to its early industry success, celebrity endorsers and widespread distribution. Blu electronic cigarettes themselves are a solid product. They use a vegetable glycerin based e-liquid made by Johnson Creek Smoke Juice, a highly respected and reputable e-juice brand.

Blu Cigs has not only been perhaps the most successfully branded e-cigarette, the company is also actively pursuing new product development. Case in point, the release of a “closed” tank ecig system known as Blu Plus.

With Blu Plus set to capture a piece of the ecig tank market and excellent sales numbers worldwide, Blu Ecigs has achieved the name recognition and brand awareness that Zippo Blu has failed to reach.

Blu Cigs Vs. Zippo Blu

blu electronic cigarettes, blue cigs

Blu Freedom: European Marketing Campaign That Has Helped Make The Blu Ecigs A Household Name

Ronald S. Milstein, a spokesperson for Blu Cigs parent company Lorillard Inc, stated that, “Zippo is trying to unfairly capitalize on the commercial success of our Blu Ecigs electronic cigarettes business despite the fact that Blu electronic cigarettes products could not possibly cause damage to Zippo’s lighter sales.”

Mr. Milstein went on to say, “We intend to vigorously defend our trademark rights throughout the world against Zippo’s opportunistic trolling tactics and abuse of the legal system.  Zippo is clearly struggling to make something out of nothing.  Its misguided publicity campaign is designed to offset what has been a total failure of the Zippo ‘blu’ product in the butane lighter market.”

Under the Lorillard subsidiary Cygnet UK Trading Limited, doing business as Blu Ecigs, an injunction has been filed with the High Court of Justice in London, England to stop Zippo from threatening Blu Cigs with legal proceedings regarding alleged trademark infringements in the UK.

Blu Ecigs is also seeking a legal declaration to validate their right to market and sell products throughout Europe, including Germany.

Normally, when we talk about e-cigarette laws we are usually talking about an ecig ban in some jurisdiction or we find ourselves discussing grand scale national e-cig regulations in a variety of countries.

In this case, the e-cigarette laws involved have to do with the actual business of the booming ecig industry.

E-cigarette companies like Blu have joined the ranks of big business. Now that they are playing with heavy economic hitters, it was a natural progression that established, older companies would take note and look to capitalize.

Blu Ecigs appears to be well prepared to answer any challenges.

A court ruling is not expected until late 2015.  Until then Blu will be conducting business as usual in Europe.

Blu Electronic Cigarettes Vape Kits

blu ecigs british e-cigarette brandsConducting business as usual means making further inroads into the European market. Blu disposables have become very popular. Blu is also offering a number of vape kits that are also performing very well.

The vape kits offered in Europe include the familiar Blu Cigs portable pack and e-cig cartridges. The cartridges in Europe include several classic Blu flavors as well as a flavor called NRG.

Blu NRG flavor features e-juice infused with taurine. It is essentially an energy drink that you vape! Perhaps we will see this flavor released in the US at some point as well.

In addition to the vape kits that most of us are familiar with, the European version of Blu also markets and sells an eGo style ecig and e-liquids.

The Blu Pro kit features a 950 mAh battery and a large capacity Blu Pro clearomiser. The look is much like that of the famous Blu cig-a-like model including a blue tip.

They offer 9 different e-liquid flavors as well. The Blu Plus tank that is being distributed to the US market is actually a closed system meaning that you cannot manually refill the tank with Blu e-liquid.

Perhaps the European vape kits being offered by Blu are a sign of what might be coming to the US market. In any event, one can expect Blu to continually develop new products to meet consumer demand.

It certainly appears to be business as usual for Blu electronic cigarettes. How the court challenges imposed by Zippo will affect the long-term strategies at Blu remain to be seen. All in all, it seems that Blu is more than prepared to meet the challenge.

Matt

Team ECCR

 

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