Knock0ff News March 01, 2016 13:07
NOT OUR BAG, AND NOT A WHALE BAG
Well, I've never had personal identity theft happen, except for receiving a few replacement credit cards here and there. I never knew how scary it could be when it happened to my bags and business.
Sales had started to slip, and I realized that my whale bags and my shower bags were being copied and sold on Amazon, and that my whole web page from 10 years ago till now was on view on the Alibaba Web Site in China, for anyone to copy bags from.
Several bankrolls later, Saltwater Canvas® and the Whale Bag® are now registered trademarks. I have learned a lot, not only going through the process of obtaining a lawyer and of getting materials together to apply for a trademark, but realizing how very much I want to save my business, which will be 25 years old this July. I have spent night and day in the web trenches, uncovering copies, companies, and deceit. Beachmall.com, and 101Snorkel have been calling their copied bags Whale Bags, for years. Another company, Towel Specialties, has been selling whale bag copies wholesale to eBay businesses, who have been calling them the whale bag also, and has been selling them for outrageous low to high prices.
One company in South Africa ordered 2 whale bags about a year ago, claimed they never arrived, so I had to send them out again, are now are selling exact copies of my whale bags down there. I emailed them, and was told they were not copies, and I dug deep to find the actual order for the exact beach bags and colors they copied.
DormCo.com, a former customer, has helped himself to my shower bags, copied them poorly, and makes fun of my bags:
On his website, he claims: "Canvas Mesh Tote - STRONGEST Shower Bag" even though they are mesh, to imply the name Saltwater Canvas. That is a trick I've seen, a Saltwater or a Canvas to suggest our company had something to do with his mess. Even though he has copied our shower bag, he has an insult for us. I do think he needs a grammar lesson in parallel structure: "Compare: Saltwater Black Mesh Tote to Our DormCo.com version is far cheaper and HIGH Quality". He then goes on to say: "Dorm Co. Tip: Have a second shower tote to hold back-up supplies". That says to me, buy a second one for when the first one breaks. I have noted that the pockets on his shower bags are so skinny they hardly hold a comb.
After a Cease and Desist letter from the lawyer, things are better, but it makes me sick to see all the shabby stuff out there on Amazon.
Curiously, Amazon states clearly that it does not allow knockoffs or copies, but they do not support the Trademark symbols which tell people quite clearly to stay away.
We have almost finished copyrighting the Saltwater Canvas Web Site, so once we have that paperwork in hand, we will go after Alibaba, sort of the Amazon of factories in China, India, all over, who will be forced to take down the copies of my website.
In any case, we have survived the attack, and are well stocked for the spring and summer sales. As always, look for the label. I really appreciate it when a customer calls, usually regarding an Amazon page, to see if they are getting the real thing. I can say yes, and I can also sleep at night.