Latest Update: 25 January 2016
Chinese company, Nantong Nantong ANT Machinery Co., Ltd has registered designs declared invalid in the European Union, as identical to Muck Truck's designs.
On 29 January 2015, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market ('OHIM') decided the registered community designs ('RCDs') owned by a Chinese company, Nantong ANT Machinery Co., Ltd ('Nantong') could not be considered 'new' as Muck Truck's identical design had already been 'made available to the public' prior to Nantong's registrations. Muck Truck's own designs were published on 31 July 2007. Links to the OHIM website showing the invalidations of Nantong's RCDs are here and here
On May 22, 2015, the EU Office for Trademarks Ruled the Chinese Copies of Muck Truck to be Invalid.
It is now clear, as a result of this decision from OHIM, that the products which Nantong manufacture and sell to this RCD specification within Europe (and have done previously) infringe Muck Truck's RCD (no. 000718762-001).
Muck Truck can now legally prevent Nantong and any third party manufacturers/distributors/resellers from dealing with these products and infringing its rights. However, Muck Truck is aware that Nantong continues to illegally sell and manufacture infringing products within Europe (as it has done for numerous years) despite OHIM's decision
Since Nantong began manufacturing products to the invalidated RCD specification, as a result of side-by-side product testing and detailed comparison, Muck Truck has serious concerns in relation to the quality of Nantong's products. Muck Truck is aware that such products are often built from what we consider are lower quality materials unable to perform to the high standards of the genuine Muck Truck products which consumers expect. Muck Truck is very proud of its reputation for producing original designs and developing high-quality products. We are prepared to take legal action against organisations that infringe its RCDs and/or seek to pass off copies of genuine Muck Truck products to consumers.
We have carried out a comparison of our genuine Muck Truck with the infringing Nantong BY250 product, click here to view.
To date, Muck Truck has prevented several European distributors from selling infringing Nantong products in Europe and will continue to do this in the future, to protect both its own brand and consumers seeking genuine Muck Truck products.
Despite Muck Truck requesting that Nantong ceases from infringing its RCD for numerous years, at significant expense, Nantong continues to manufacture and sell such products.
Recently Muck Truck has been successful in removing Nantong's infringing products from the Agritechnia Trade Exhibition (8 – 14 November 2015) in Hanover, Germany. Muck Truck lodged a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecutor in Hanover in charge of economic crime issues and action against Nantong was granted. As a result, Muck Truck's German lawyers attended the exhibition with the local Hanover police to remove the infringing products from Nantong's stand for the duration of the exhibition. Muck Truck will take similar action at further European trade exhibitions where Nantong and other third-party infringers are offering for sale or advertising infringing products. We have spent thousands of dollars and several years to develop high-quality products and intend to protect our registered designs.
Here's my story -
When Muck Truck started with the new product range and exported into the EU the exposure of the products grew exponentially.
When new companies start to produce products effectively they consider whether to patent/protect or register designs and trademarks in countries where they want to sell. In my view, new companies will rarely be able to afford to do this as they are often not financially secure and there is little guidance to help them to understand this.
When I started, Muck Truck was one of those companies.
In my view, it is very sad that the governments/patent offices charge so much money for registrations and patents. It limits the coverage and the protection a new company has for its unique inventions or designs in a very detrimental way, particularly the type of infringement we have seen from Nantong. I believe the current funding for Patent offices does not allow them to help grow and support growth within the manufacturing industry.
In my opinion, the biggest problem is that a company like Nantong works on a company model which is driven by ROI (return on investment). This means that if eventually, I stop them after 5 years from producing copies of my machines - they don't care. This is because during those 5 years it took to stop them, they have sold many thousands of machines and made hundreds of thousands of dollars profit and therefore, the return on investment was worth it.
Many companies in the world now have companies manufacturing their products in China. These companies then import the parts and just assemble them. They are allowed to import with minimal import duties – it's sad but true. In my view, high import duties need to be imposed if manufacturing is to be brought back so as to create wealth.
According to the European Commission, China continues to be the main country from where goods suspected of infringing an IPR were sent to the EU. The number of IPR infringing goods being imported into Europe increased in 2014 with a value of the equivalent genuine products being estimated at over €617 million. In 2014, there was a significant increase in the number of products within the 'machinery' category which was detained on suspicion of IPR infringement.
The European Commission has made it very clear that infringements of IPR are harmful:"they reduce business and government revenues, stifle investment and innovation and hinder economic growth. They result in job losses and reduced wealth creation (Gross Domestic Product or GDP). Furthermore, IPR infringing goods risk harming consumers, as they are less likely than others to be manufactured in compliance with health and safety standards."
We at Muck Truck will relentlessly pursue importers/distributors of copied Muck Trucks to prevent infringement. We will take legal action against infringers. We have always won our court cases relating to intellectual property rights.
Thank you for reading
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