Automotive & Aftermarket News

Feds Seize Suspected Chinese Knockoff Parts at SEMA; Judge Orders 8 Chinese Companies to U.S. Court

Rugged Ridge Spartan Grille

This Rugged Ridge Spartan grille for Jeep Wranglers is one of several patented aftermarket parts that Omix-ADA officials say was ripped off by Chinese competitors in a federal court filing this week which led to the search and seizure of eight Chinese companies which appear to be selling counterfeit versions of products like the Rugged Ridge Spartan grille. (Image/Rugged Ridge)

LAS VEGAS, NV — U.S. Marshals seized parts, shut down booth displays, and served court-ordered subpoenas to eight Chinese aftermarket companies at the SEMA Show, and the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) this week amidst accusations of counterfeiting and patent infringement.

The complaint was filed by Jeep aftermarket parts maker Omix-ADA in U.S. District Court, claiming patent and trademark infringements on products sold under the Rugged Ridge brand.

“This is for our industry, it isn’t just about Omix-ADA, it’s about our industry and our customers, and those that are spending money on product development, and are being blatantly ripped off with merchandise that is being presented as our product, or something like our product,” said Henk Van Dongen, Omix-ADA’s director of marketing, in an interview with Four Wheeler, which caught video of the federal marshals’ search and seizure of Unity 4WD Accessories’ SEMA booth — one of the Chinese companies who will be required to appear in federal court. “It’s important for us that we make it known that we did this, and we will continue to do this. It’s kind of like playing whack-a-mole, but it’s good for everybody.”

In addition to Unity 4WD, some of the other Chinese companies involved in the Fed’s investigation accused of selling counterfeit knockoffs include:

  • Changzhou Jiulong Auto Lamps Factory
  • Maxgrand Ltd.
  • Guangzhou Vcan Electronic Technology Co.
  • Sanmak Lighting Co.
  • Shenzen Unisun Technology Co.

A preliminary hearing is slated for November 10.

The automotive aftermarket is no stranger to cheap Chinese knockoff parts. As such, Omix-ADA officials knew heading into SEMA week that parts violating their intellectual property would be on display, and worked with SEMA and AAPEX officials prior to the SEMA Show to use proper legal channels to fight against theft and counterfeiting.

“As a dedicated exhibitor, Omix-ADA would like to thank SEMA and AAPEX management for their help and cooperation in working with the company to help protect its patent and trademark rights, as well as the aftermarket customers,” Omix-ADA said in a prepared statement. [Our company] is also pursuing litigation with several companies selling infringing product at various online retailers.
“The company views counterfeiting and infringement as a serious and widespread problem in the aftermarket industry and one that can be combatted through proper legal channels, and would encourage other members of the aftermarket industry to follow a similar path.”

You can read the judge’s order here and Omix-ADA’s original complaint here.

To read more coverage surrounding the federal raid of Chinese knockoff products at SEMA, check out coverage by BangShift here, Best Ride here, and Jalopnik here.

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  1. That is what happens when our American companies out-source their parts to be made in other countries that do not respect the patent laws.

    • Try having a mold made in the US. A mold for that grille in the USA would be 50K. In China the company may pay the costs to have the mold made. I have tried and tried to have molds made here and they just hold you up.

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