FOCUS – Go-Ped Goes After Imported Stand-Ups
November 17, 2004
Filed under Features
In March, Patmont Motor Werks, Inc., the Nevada-based manufacturer of Go-Ped brand scooters, filed a federal suit charging the Chinese Government and an association of Chinese companies with unfair trade practices and conspiracy to restrain trade under the anti-trust laws.
Patmont said it filed the suit to correct fair international trade laws that prevent original American-made products from being sold in China. The lawsuit, Patmont said, illustrates a clear example of how American products like Go-Ped brand scooters are refused access into the same countries that export massive volumes of unsafe imitation products into the United States at below cost and/or with foreign government subsidies.
In the suit, Patmont said scooters from China are allowed entry into the United States at zero duty while the People’s Republic of China imposes a 167% duty and tax on American made products of similar function and design. Furthermore, Patmont said consumer products imported into the United States from China are admitted under inferior labor laws and with zero customs duties.
“Chinese exporters can unload their products on the American market with no duty or tax, but heavy duties and other taxes prevent businesses like ours from selling our products to Chinese consumers,” said Steven J. Patmont, president and CEO of Patmont Motor Werks. “This suit does more than try to protect one company such as my family’s, as American consumers are at risk when unsafe low-quality foreign manufactured products with terrible safety records are allowed free entry into this country.”
Patmont Motor Werks is a family-owned business with more than 100 employees. It has spent nearly 20 years designing, manufacturing and marketing personal transport devices, including motorized, electric and self-powered scooters. The GoPed brand scooter, originated by Patmont in 1985, is protected by numerous patents, trademarks and copyrights.
By July, a Federal District Court Judge in Reno, Nev., enjoined motorized scooter manufacturers in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Korea, from exporting knock-off copies of GoPed brand gas and electric scooters into the United States.
Patmont wasn’t done there, however. In September, the company filed another lawsuit — this one aimed at CSK Auto Parts, the company that owns Checker Auto Parts, Schuck’s Auto Supply, and Kragen Auto Parts.
In the suit, Patmont alleged that CSK sold motorized scooters made in China, which infringe on the trademarks and copyrights of Patmont Motor Werks. The suit sought compensatory and punitive damages.
“We hope this suit will serve to protect hardworking American families from calculated theft of intellectual property rights through importation and distribution of low cost imitation products,” said Steve Patmont.
GoPed brand product is sold through a network of dealers in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.