Zippo complaining about non-Zippo lighters
Posted in the Patent / Trademark Law Forum
#1 May 24, 2007
I don't know if this appropriate to post here, but I'm desperately looking for some help.
I have been selling some lighters on Ebay that have custom photos on them. They are not Zippo brand and I do not use any comparison to Zippo or the use the name at all, except for a disclaimer in all auctions that this is NOT a Zippo brand only because Zippo is so popular and make so many different styles, I wanted to make sure these were not confused to be anything other than a custom made lighter.
Zippo complained to Ebay and Ebay has closed all auctions, even ones that don't feature lighters, suspended my account and closed my Ebay store. After calling them to find out why they said Zippo said that my lighters looked like a Zippo. The flip top isn't open in my pictures. I have a template of a silver rectangle with a graphic overlayed to show what the lighter would look like if opened.
I have searched through Zippo's trademarks and can't find that they have trademarked a rectangle (like they could). There is nothing else about my lighters that are similar to theirs other than the shape and a lighter is a lighter there's not many shapes a standard lighter can be just like a car typically has 4 tires.
Does anyone have any suggestions on law cases or something I can use to throw back at them that they don't have the right to stop my business over something baseless?
#2 May 29, 2007
Did you speak with someone at Ebay? It is not Zippo stopping your business but Ebay. Ebay just does not want to be put in any kind of risk situation. They have to deal with many chinese knock-offs and that sort of thing, they probably don't even bother looking at the facts when complaints from large corporations come in, they just pull the plug.
#3 Jun 12, 2007
I've had trouble like that on ebay after selling original zippo lighters and i am not suprised with your trouble with them. You will have big problems if you keep selling them on ebay i guarantee it they are just like that.
Just my 5 cents worth
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