ADA — Amway Corp. and parent company Alticor Inc. recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against an eBay Inc. seller based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The lawsuit, filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges six counts of unauthorized sales of Amway products against the seller, Hui Fang Yang, and her allegedly related business “alter ego” Qi Rui Inc.
According to court documents, Yang — who Amway says is not and has not ever been an authorized seller for the company — has an inventory of “hundreds if not thousands” of Amway-branded products that she sells at a “high volume” each month. The company alleges that after multiple cease-and-desist letters, Yang is still “intentionally, willfully, and maliciously” selling Amway products via eBay.
“Unauthorized sale of Amway products over the Internet threatens the safety of consumers and the reputation and goodwill associated with the Amway Registered Trademarks,” the company said in court filings.
As this report was published, more than 70 active listings in the online store, which has been selling products since August 2018, include Amway products. As a seller, Yang has a “proven track record of excellent service,” according to eBay. Her store has more than 660 positive reviews from the past year, including more than 60 from the past month.
The Ada-based direct-selling giant Amway manufactures and distributes nutrition, beauty, bath and body, cookware and household products under various brands including Nutrilite and Artistry. Amway sells its products online at Amway.com and through millions of contracted “independent business owners” (IBOs) worldwide, according to the company. Amway prohibits its IBOs from selling online or in retail outlets, leaving only person-to-person sales as an authorized practice, according to court documents.
An Amway spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment at the time this report was published.
The lawsuit, which demands a jury trial, also includes 10 unnamed Amway IBOs who have breached their own contracts with the company by selling large quantities to Yang.
As a result of the defendants’ actions, Amway has “suffered, and will continue to suffer, significant monetary harm including, but not limited to, loss of sales, damage to the value of their intellectual property, harm to the goodwill associated with the Amway family of brands, and damage to their existing and potential business relations,” according to the filing.
The company is seeking damages — “an amount to be determined at trial” — to be paid by the defendants, which would include damages, interest and attorney fees.
Amway said it generated $8.8 billion in sales for 2018, as MiBiz previously reported.