German customs police this morning raided the stand at Eurobike of China-based bike light brand Xeccon, which has been engaged in a copyright dispute with the Australian business, Knog, for several months.
Knog CEO Hugo Davidson accompanied customs officers to seize goods at the Zeppelin hall of the trade fair in Friedrichshafen, reports Cycling Industry News.
The dispute appears to centre around Xeccon’s Milan range of lights, which Knog insists infringes its patents and intellectual property (IP) rights due to their alleged similarity to the company’s Blinder series.
“We have already issued a number of cease and desist warnings in order to protect our IP,” the Knog CEO told the trade-focused website.
“This business approached our distributors offering to undercut our goods on several occasions, even following our contact.
“We have been aware that they are further chasing clients since and were set to exhibit at Eurobike.
“With that knowledge they have once been asked to remove all content infringing our patents, but have refused to do so. German customs have therefore come in to seize the goods this morning.”
According to Davidson, Xeccon could face a fine of €250,000 while the company’s executives could be jailed for up to eight years.
In July, Moore Large was announced as the exclusive distributor of the full range of Xeccon products in the UK, with the companies having previously worked together.
Previously, the Derby-based company had distributed Knog products here, but that relationship ended in April this year, with Silverfish taking over distribution of the brand.
According to Cyclingindustrynews.com, Davidson has said that a cease and desist letter was due to be delivered today to Moore Large regarding its relationship with Xeccon and that the company will also look to protect its rights in other countries.
On 25 May, Davidson made a visitor post to Xeccon’s Facebook page in which he warned potential purchasers of the Milan rights that he believed they infringed Knog’s IP rights, sparking a response from the Chinese brand that refuted his claims.
At the time of publication of this article, the link on Xeccon’s website to the Milan range was showing a 404 Not Found error, while links to other ranges were working properly.
In July, the company, which is based in Shenzen, close to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, posted a promotional video for the Milan series to Facebook featuring a Mr Bean look-a-like.
The same month, the company likened itself to the winners of the Euro 2016 football championship, proclaiming on its website: “Xeccon is getting through all the battles like the Portuguese national football team, always try and do our best to enter the final battle, we all believe that Milan will lead us to the champion time.”
With presumably unintentional foresight, it added: “Please see Xeccon Milan’s final battle at Eurobike 2016 in August” – though we suspect we won’t have heard the last of this dispute just yet.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.