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Business | February 07, 2012

Cliff Electronics wins court case

Court ruling confirms infringement on Cliff UK’s American trademark, unfair competition with Cliff UK and false designation of origin of counterfeit goods
Cliff Electronics, (Cliff UK) has won a long and complex court case to protect its trademark and products sold in the USA from counterfeiting.

In 2008 Cliff Electronics discovered that a Cliff-branded product returned under complaint from an end user was not manufactured by an authorized Cliff company or in any Cliff production facility. Cliff launched an investigation and was surprised to discover that the product in question had been cloned by Cliff Hong Kong and marketed by Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., which was at that time Cliff UK’s official distributor in the USA.

Cliff UK has always been fiercely protective of its trademark and products, their quality and the reputation of the company and this discovery rapidly led to a change to the manner of distribution in the USA and the formation of the current authorized USA distributor, Cliff Inc.

As the investigation continued Cliff UK discovered other cloned products that were being sold under the Cliff brand name and also that counterfeit Cliff drawings were being used to give a false impression of their provenance and quality. Cliff UK also discovered the sources of manufacture and tracked the companies involved, despite name changes and other measures used to cloud the origins of these counterfeit products.

These actions have resulted in several years of legal proceedings in the USA concluding with a judgment completely in the favour of Cliff Electronics on all points, as detailed in the attached press release on the court judgement. Cliff UK is now awaiting the ruling on injunctive relief, damages and penalties to be awarded against Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., and its president, Andrew Brunt, whom the judge ruled is personally liable for all damages to Cliff UK. Cliff is continuing to pursue all other companies and individuals involved.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff UK comments; ”Not only has Cliff lost substantial direct sales in the USA but there has been much confusion caused by misuse of the Cliff brand in the USA, Europe and Asia.”

Throughout this problem Cliff has striven to ensure that its customers were not adversely affected and made great efforts to keep those customers and markets advised, individually by direct notification and collectively via notices on its website and other publicity.

Cliff UK products are mainly used in professional and high quality equipment and it has been of utmost importance to the company to minimize any problems caused by counterfeit products. In some cases Cliff UK replaced failing cloned or counterfeit Cliff-branded products with genuine products free of charge. It is a popular belief that the use of counterfeit products causes only quality or reliability problems, but just as important is the issue of invalidating Approvals Files and Certifications if non-approved components are substituted.

Cliff UK believes that the recent court ruling demonstrates to all who attempt to counterfeit Cliffproducts that all actions necessary will be taken to stop this nuisance and protect Cliff customers.

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