Brake drum manufacturer Webb Wheel Products, Inc. has obtained U.S. federal trademark registrations for its part numbers to prevent counterfeiters from using those numbers to fool customers.
“Webb will tolerate no further sales or importation of product bearing its registered trademarks,” said Mike Canada, president of Webb’s Aftermarket Business Unit. “Any sale of product will be met with a complaint for trademark infringement and/or other legal action as well as proceedings before the International Trade Commission for any counterfeit products imported into the United States.”
In addition to the part number, the Webb cast-in name is clearly visible on brake drums manufactured and distributed by Webb Wheel Products. The company advises end users and distributors to look for those marks.
“The fact that Webb Wheel was able to get their register numbers trademarked is a huge victory,” Neal Zipser, vp—marketing and communications with the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Assn. told FleetOwner. Getting the part numbers trademarked is a difficult process, according to Zipser, because, “you have to prove those numbers are unique to your product.”
MEMA is hoping that the Webb Wheel anti-counterfeiting strategy will set an effective precedent for other suppliers to follow.
“It gives [the supplier] a legal presumption that you have a valid trademark on part number and that the part number is not descriptive of the features of the part,” Anthony Lupo, a partner at the Arent Fox law firm told FleetOwner. “Now the burden is on [the counterfeiter] to prove that it’s not a trademark. Secondly, after five years the trademark becomes incontestable under normal circumstances.”To comment on this article, write to [email protected]