ELFBAR, probably the biggest-selling disposable vape brand in the world, has been sued for trademark infringement, and will change its name in the United States. The ELFBAR name will continue to be used in the UK and other markets worldwide.
The brand will become EBDESIGN in the U.S., although the company may restore the ELFBAR name if the trademark dispute is decided in its favor. EBDESIGN-branded products will begin arriving at U.S. ports in just a few days.
Model numbers on EBDESIGN products will remain the same, and will increase in prominence on the device and packaging. For example, on the most popular ELFBAR device, the BC5000 model number will appear much larger than the EBDESIGN brand. The ELFBAR name used to dwarf the model number.
Other disposable brands made by ELFBAR’s parent company will remain unchanged. Those include the Lost Mary and Funky Republic brands.
An injunction puts a hold on U.S. ELFBAR imports
The parent company of ELFBAR, Shenzhen iMiracle Technology Co. Ltd., is being sued by VPR Brands, a Florida-based company that claims to have rights to the “Elf” brand for vaping products in the U.S. (VPR has engaged in other trademark and patent infringement lawsuits, usually ending in settlements.)
VPR is also suing several U.S. master distributors of ELFBAR products. A master distributor is authorized to receive products directly from the manufacturer, and then resells to other distributors. Some of them also sell directly to retailers and some directly to the public.
The lawsuit was filed last fall in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Last week, District Court Judge Aileen Cannon granted VPR’s motion for a preliminary injunction preventing iMiracle from importing ELFBAR-branded products and their master distributors from selling them while the case is argued. (Interesting unrelated note: Judge Cannon is the jurist appointed by President Donald Trump who famously ordered a special master to review classified documents seized from Trump’s property before they could be accessed by the Justice Department. Her decision was overturned on appeal.)
According to a source closely involved with the lawsuit, retailers and distributors not named in the lawsuit are not in legal jeopardy if they continue to sell existing ELFBAR stock—unless they receive cease-and-desist letters from VPR. But iMiracle is no longer shipping ELFBAR-branded products to the U.S., and the master distributors are no longer supplying them.
iMiracle is appealing the preliminary injunction, according to a press release, and has asked Judge Cannon to stay the injunction pending appeal. One of the company’s U.S. distributors has also filed a petition asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeal board to cancel VPR’s trademark.
ELF and ELFBAR trademarks, and VPR’s ELF-brand vapes
VPR Brands applied for a trademark for the name ELF in 2017, under the categories “Electronic cigarette lighters; Electronic cigarettes; Smokeless cigarette vaporizer pipe.” The mark was registered in 2018. In September 2022, VPR applied for a trademark for an “ELF” logo.
VPR doesn’t seem to currently offer for sale any nicotine vaping products using the names Elf or Elf Bar, although it sells a battery for cannabis carts called the “Elf Auto Draw Conceal Oil Vaporizer” under its HoneyStick brand.
VPR recently launched a website showing “ELF”-branded nicotine vaping devices that look very similar to iMiracle’s ELFBARs—right down to the model number. VPR says they are “coming soon.” However, no nicotine vaping product can now be introduced to the market legally without first submitting a premarket tobacco application (PMTA) and receiving FDA authorization. There is no longer a window to introduce new products without first receiving authorization, as there was last year when iMiracle submitted PMTAs for its synthetic nicotine-based ELFBAR devices.
A U.S. trademark application for the name ELFBAR was filed in December 2020 by iMiracle subsidiary Shenzhen Weiboli Technology Co., but appears to have been abandoned after the filer didn’t respond to trademark office communications.
The Chinese ELF BAR trademark was applied for in 2020 and has been held since it was registered in 2021 by iMiracle and its subsidiary Weiboli.
The UK trademark for ELFBAR was filed for and registered in 2021 by iMiracle. The brand is the most popular disposable vape in Britain.
Beware of fake ELFBARs
Counterfeit ELFBARs have been a problem since the brand launched. iMiracle has gone to extraordinary lengths to combat the problem. According to the company, it has “cracked down on more than 120 counterfeit production and sales targets, including factories, warehouses, logistics, and foreign trade companies, seizure of more than 2 million finished counterfeit ELFBAR products, millions of packaging boxes, anti-counterfeit codes, semi-finished vaping pipes and other accessories.”
The company has fought trademark infringers in China, and has shut down more than 20 factories making counterfeit ELFBAR products.
It’s simple to verify ELFBAR authenticity and report retailers selling fake ELFBARs.
U.S. consumers should soon be very cautious about ELFBAR-branded products sold in retail stores. As noted before, legitimate ELFBAR imports have stopped, and distributors have almost no stock on hand. As days pass, the likelihood diminishes that any ELFBAR still on store shelves is the real thing.