A federal judge in New York has issued a preliminary injunction and has frozen the assets of 135 Chinese defendants who were allegedly selling on sites such as Amazon counterfeit goods similar to the Negg boiled-egg peeler.
The order by U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York means those who attempt to disobey the preliminary injunction could lose their storefront presence on the online sites, which also include eBay, Alibaba and Ali Express.
A lawsuit on behalf of Southport-based Airigan Solutions LLC was filed under seal on July 6. Woods ordered the unsealing of the documents Aug. 7, the same date he issued the preliminary injunction.
Stanley Ference, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based attorney for Airigan Solutions, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Friday that Sheila Torgan, co-creator/maker of the Negg and her colleague Bonnie Tyler, opened their business in 2015. They patented the Negg, the unique boiled egg peeler, in May. But Ference, the founding principal attorney at Ference & Associates, said counterfeit Neggs were flooding the online marketplace.
The defendants are all Chinese companies, said Ference, whose firm focuses on intellectual property law.
“I would say there have been thousands and thousands of counterfeit eggs on the black market,” Ference said. “People were able to buy them and have them shipped to Amazon. They were selling 200 of them for $315.”
Airigan Solutions, which has only a handful of employees, was selling the product for $17.99 on its site. The company boasts more than 250,000 sales since the Negg hit the market, The official product comes in six colors: black, fuchsia, green, red, white and yellow.
Ference said Torgan and Tyler first tried, on their own, to resolve the issue.
“If they were successful in taking one [site] down, more would pop up somewhere else,” Ference said. “That is when they called us.”
Ference said the women decided to start their own business almost by chance. “Bonnie was making deviled eggs one day and had a problem peeling the eggs,” Ference said. “She then started her search with Sheila to make egg peeling easier.” The company, Ference said, “has been quite successful. They appeared on the ‘Today Show,’ and were written up in the New York Times. They also sold out on the Home Shopping Network.” The company website says the Negg is the top-selling egg peeler in the world.
The defendants have yet to respond to the lawsuit. The next step in the matter is for the defendants to reply to the judge’s order, Ference said.
There are numerous attorneys representing the 135 defendants. Ference has been in touch with at least two of them. They include C.J. Rosenbaum of Rosenbaum & Famulaio of Long Beach, New York, and Cathleen Huang of Bowles & Verna in Walnut Creek, California, Neither Rosenbaum nor Huang responded to a request for comment.