A vanilla-scented, tree-shaped air freshener, copying the Stars & Strips Little Tree freshener, was spotted by a sales representative for Car-Freshner in August.
The counterfeit product was being sold by Rite Way Wholesale and Distributors Inc.
Car-Freshner filed a trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit. The company stated that Little Trees air fresheners have been sold in the U.S. since 1952.
“Counterfeiters know what is popular and often take advantage of trends—even patriotic ones,” said Roberta Bren of Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, which represented Car-Freshener Corp.
Rite Way was required to surrender the counterfeit tree-shaped fresheners. The company sent Car-Freshner its entire inventory for destruction and made a penalty payment, company executives revealed.
“The infringers barked up the wrong tree—we were not going to sit idly by while inferior imitation products were being passed off for the real thing,” commented Richard Flechtner, president, Car-Freshner. l Completed nominations should be sent to the SDA Glycerine Award Canvassing Chairperson, AOCS, P.O. Box 3489, Champaign, IL, 61826-3489, USA, before December 1, 2002. For more information, contact Kathleen Atchley at AOCS. Tel: (217) 359-2344; Fax: (217) 351-8091; or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org