Coravin, a Bedford company that makes systems that let restaurants and oenophiles drink from uncorked bottles, is suing some guy in New Jersey - and 100 "John Does" - for allegedly selling unauthorized and often used or broken models on Amazon Storefront and other online marketplaces.
Coravin, whose products use needles and canisters of pressurized argon to let users get wine out of bottles without actually uncorking them, says it's been forced to set up some elaborate systems to crack down on unauthorized sales because negative reviews of its products sold that way are giving it a black eye.
But even with that, Coravin says some people, such as Ji "Jason" Cheng of Englewood, NJ, continue to sell Coravin or Coravin-branded products online, typically as "new," which implies they come with warranties, which they don't, because, as part of its anti-fraud efforts, Coravin now only provides warranties to products purchased through authorized sellers.
In a trademark lawsuit against Cheng and unknown John Does, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Coravin said the company asked Cheng to knock it off last November, but that all he did was change his Amazon seller name and continue to offer alleged Coravin products for sale, as recently as last week.
Coravin said it had to go to considerable lengths to identify Cheng, but that once it did, it was easy to watch him continue to offer Coravin stuff - because while Amazon lets sellers change names, the sellers retain the same unique Amazon numerical ID as before. Also:
[O]n or around January 27, Defendants attempted to purchase five hundred and twelve units of Coravin products from a retailer offering a “Friends and Family” discount. Upon information and belief, based on this enormous quantity, Defendants intended to resell the items on Amazon without disclosing to consumers that the items would not come with the Limited Warranty.
Defendants' unauthorized advertisement and sale of non-genuine products bearing the Coravin Trademarks is likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, or deceive consumers because Defendants' use of the Coravin Trademarks suggests that the products Defendants offer for sale are sponsored by, authorized by, or otherwise connected with Coravin when, in fact, they are not.
Defendants' unlawful actions constitute active misrepresentation as to the source of the products they sell. These false representations tend to confuse customers and induce them to believe that Defendants' products are genuine Coravin products when, in fact, they are not. ...
As a result, Coravin has suffered, and continues to suffer, immediate and irreparable harm. Coravin has also suffered, and continues to suffer, damages, including, but not limited to, loss of business, goodwill, reputation, and profits in an amount to be proven at trial.