Kohler Companyis suing an Amazon storefront, run by several unidentified individuals, as the group has allegedly continued to sell Kohler’s products illegally.
Kohler is a manufacturer of residential and commercial plumbing products, lighting and other home products.
A complaint in the case, filed in Wisconsin’s Eastern District, explains an Amazon storefront called The Nulka Group is selling unauthorized Kohler products including kitchen and bathroom faucets and kitchen sinks. The Amazon storefront is owned by 10 people who have yet to be identified by Kohler.
“While online marketplaces have created a great deal of opportunity, they also greatly challenge a brand owner’s ability to control the quality and safety of its products,” reads the complaint.
Kohler does allow certain authorized sellers to sell its products through pre-approved channels so long as those sellers agree to certain policies and quality controls. Kohler also gives its authorized sellers a license to use the Kohler copyrighted materials to market Kohler products.
To ensure customers receive genuine Kohler products, authorized sellers must sell Kohler products in their original packaging and are prohibited from relabeling, repackaging, “unbundling,” or altering the products.
The company believes at least some of the products being sold by Nulka Group were acquired from authorized sellers for the purpose of illegally reselling them.
“It is unfortunately common for unauthorized sellers to sell diverted products on online marketplaces that are of lesser quality than products sold through brand owners’ authorized channels,” according to the complaint.
The complaint states Kohler actively monitors the sale of its products online due to the threat unauthorized products pose. This is how the company says it discovered “high volumes” of products with the Kohler trademark illegally being sold. The company has not been able to identify who is running the Nulka Group storefront as they have provided false and incomplete information, including names and addresses, according to the lawsuit.
Kohler argues its reputation and goodwill as a brand have been harmed by online reviews made by the people who purchased unauthorized products from the Nulka Group storefront. The company also alleges Nulka Group has infringed on the Kohler trademark.
Kohler is seeking compensatory damages and an injunction preventing the Nulka Group storefront owners from continuing to sell unauthorized products.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.