BIC received a General Exclusion Order from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that prevents the importation into the U.S. of all lighters that imitate BIC lighters’ iconic appearance, which would infringe BIC’s registered trade dress, regardless of who is importing the product. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce the order.
The ruling concludes an ITC investigation initiated by BIC on Dec. 6, 2018, to stop the unauthorized importation into the U.S. of low-quality, Chinese-made knock-off pocket lighters that imitate the design of BIC’s lighters without upholding BIC’s stringent safety and quality standards.
Through this investigation, BIC aimed to protect the safety of its customers and consumers and the integrity of its pocket lighter, trusted for its consistent high quality and safety standards for more than 45 years. BIC previously obtained a favorable resolution with Arrow Lighter, Inc., a named respondent in the investigation, in January 2020 blocking the worldwide sale of certain unauthorized, imitation pocket lighters branded ‘MK.’
The ITC also investigated Benxi Fenghe Lighter Co. Ltd., Excel Wholesale Distributors Inc., Wellpine Company Limited, and Zhuoye Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
“This is the best outcome we could hope for: the registered trade dress and iconic design of BIC lighters will be protected by the U.S. government,” said Steve Burkhart, Vice President and General Counsel at BIC. “Halting the importation of non-compliant, knock-off lighters into the U.S. market is not only a victory for BIC but for all of our consumers and customers who trust BIC lighters for our uncompromising commitment to safety, quality and reliability.”
Unfortunately, low-quality, non-compliant, imported lighters are prevalent in the U.S. market. An overwhelming majority of these lighters fail safety standards set forth by ASTM International, meaning they can lead to serious fires, damage to property, or injuries to consumers, customers, and their families. BIC routinely tests such lighters, consistently finding that these imported knockoffs fail to meet these safety standards.
BIC urges consumers and customers to always confirm they are purchasing a safe, high-quality BIC lighter by purchasing only from reputable, authorized retailers. Safety is a cornerstone of BIC’s business and the number one priority for BIC lighters, which are fully compliant with all applicable government regulations in every country where BIC operates, and meet or exceed all international safety standards.