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Feds seize counterfeit booth at SEMA

In a federal complaint filed Nov. 4, Toyo Tire and Rubber Co. Ltd. (Toyo), a manufacturer and distributor of tires, believed Chinese-based Toyomoto Tire Corp. (Toyomoto) depicted itself as a Japanese tire manufacturer and set up a counterfeit booth at Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event held at Las Vegas Convention Center from Nov. 4-7.

Seeking an ex parte emergency temporary restraining, Toyo, as the plaintiff, filed suit against the alleged counterfeit company for “trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and cybersquatting,” according to the complaint.

Requesting a restraining order be accelerated and enforced before the defendant, Toyomoto, left the U.S. following the close of the show, Toyo insisted the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada protect its intellectual property while the foreign company remained on American soil.

Toyo claimed that Toyomoto used its corporate names and trademarks to market and promote its exhibit booth at SEMA Show, including banners, graphics and other promotional items.

In granting the application for a restraining order, the court stated that:

Unless restrained, the Defendants’ promotion, offers for sale, and/or sale of its infringing products at SEMA will result in immediate and irreparable injury to Toyo in the form of loss of consumer goodwill, loss of control over its business reputation, and interference with Toyo’s ability to exploit its U.S. trademarks. The likelihood of such harm is significant at SEMA, which Toyo requests is a major trade show with approximately 60,000 attendees, most of whom make purchasing decisions or influence purchasing decisions. Toyo will be unable to effectively police the market and enforce its intellectual property rights if the Defendants are not restrained.

U.S. Marshals were ordered to remove and seize all signage from Toyomoto’s booth at SEMA including “banners, display items, promotional materials, and products bearing infringing marks.”

A preliminary injunction hearing on the matter is set for Nov. 12.


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