Crackdown on Compatible Pods has become a trend in the e-cigarette industry, with foreign countries explicitly banning Compatible Pods from entering the market by legal means, an effective means of maintaining market order and promoting healthy development of the industry.
According to the official U.S. media “Federal Register,” the U.S. International Trade Commission (The International Trade Commission, ITC) recently issued the latest ban on importing all unauthorized electronic cigarette Compatible Pods that infringe on JUUL Labs patented design.
In response to the ITC’s ban, JUUL Labs Vice President of Intellectual Property Wayne Sobel said, “This is a major victory against illegal e-cigarette manufacturers who exploit gaps in the law and disrupt the market environment,”
E-cigarettes usually consist of a stick and a cartridge. On the other hand, the compatible cartridge refers to a cartridge produced by a third party compatible with a brand of cigarette sticks. In recent years in the domestic and international electronic cigarette industry, the compatible pod usually disrupts the market order under the banner of “lower price” and “compatible with big brands.”
Compatible Pods have been the “persistent problem” in the electronic cigarette industry in China and abroad. In addition to disrupting the market order for consumers, the quality of the compatible Pods itself also has hidden worries. It is reported that Relx has conducted benzene testing and analysis on a batch of compatible cartridges in the market and found that there are problems such as excessive benzene in the compatible cartridges.
In addition, since November 2019, regular e-cigarette brands in China are no longer sold online and have strengthened the development of face recognition, intelligent child lock, and other technologies to protect minors. The compatible cartridges manufacturers still sell online, publish illegal marketing ads, and even sell their products to children. These unlawful behaviors will deepen the public’s misunderstanding of the e-cigarette industry and torch the efforts made by regular manufacturers over the years.
Therefore, it has also become the consensus of the e-cigarette industry to crack down on compatible cartridges and maintain market order. As early as 2019, JUUL requested an investigation into more than 20 “compatible cartridges” manufacturers by filing a complaint with the ITC. Last April, the ITC issued a ban on importing products to the United States by four compatible cartridges manufacturers, including three companies from Shenzhen.
In China, regular e-cigarette manufacturers also actively protect their rights through technological barriers and legal means. Take RELX as an example. Yuechu in the last year will be several passes with cigarette brands to the court, including Veex and SP2S.
According to the lawsuit, RELX believes that the act of producing and selling compatible cartridges is a kind of “parasitic” behavior built on RELX’s existing user base. They were climbing on other people’s brands, seizing other people’s labor to obtain improper benefits, violating the principle of honesty, credit, and business ethics.
In addition to RELX, the Chinese brand YOOZ CEO Cai Yuedong had issued a notice saying “zero tolerance” for disrupting the market order. JVE non-me even launched a “thunder action” against the compatible cartridges last year, using patented anti-counterfeit chip technology to prevent the chip from being cracked.
Last year, in the electronic cigarette industry standardized development forum, MOTI also spoke out publicly, saying that the problem is the development of the industry’s pain points. Behind this are the practitioners of short-term profit, not the performance of consumers and industry long-term responsibility.
The electronic cigarette industry in various countries is gradually incorporated into legal regulation. Standardized development has become the way. Experts believe that through the lawful means to explicitly prohibit entry into the market, foreign governments are an effective means to maintain market order and promote the healthy development of the industry.
“The compatible cartridges not only infringe on the design patents of the regular electronic cigarette enterprises and disrupt the market order. But also violates business ethics and constitutes unfair competition. If this kind of free-riding behavior is condoned for a long time, it will be detrimental to the innovators, pioneers, and payers in the market.” The expert said.