Think Victory E-Cigarettes is a small company staring wistfully at the e-cigarette giants on high? Think again. Forbes reports that Victory co-founder Marc Hardgrove has seen his share of the company — traded on the OTC market under the symbol ECIG — jump 83 percent in value over the last week. According to Forbes, this increases the value of his company holdings from $105 million to $193 million. If Victory chooses to invest any of this capital into the future growth of the company, one would surmise that the future potential for growth is quite high.
On the other hand, there may be a bit of trouble on the horizon. According to CSPnet.com, NJOY has filed suit against Victory for infringement of NJOY’s patent and trade dress rights. Now, here is where things start to get a little complicated. I’m no lawyer, but searching Google Patents for the term “NJOY” reveals that the company apparently owns a number of exclusive technologies including an electronic cigarette with a paper label, an electronic cigarette with a “soft filter,” a “soft and flexible” electronic cigarette, an electronic cigarette “configured to simulate the natural burn of a traditional cigarette” and the famous NJOY Kings flip-top case, among others.
The article in CSPnet refers to NJOY’s “959 patent,” the full publication number of which is actually US8539959 B1 — “Electronic cigarette configured to simulate the natural burn of a traditional cigarette.” This patent is based on so much prior art that it’s difficult for me to tell exactly what belongs to NJOY. It appears, though, that NJOY has patented a means by which light can travel through a conduit inside an e-cigarette, causing a transparent section on the end of the e-cigarette to light up as if it were the ember of a tobacco cigarette.
It seems to me, though, that the real issue at hand here is the Zippo-like flip top case in which the NJOY King is packaged. Patent US20130248385 A1 covers the NJOY Kings case and seems to make it pretty clear that NJOY is the sole owner in the United States of the hard plastic, lighter-shaped flip-top e-cigarette case. Does the Victory King e-cigarette copy NJOY’s design? You be the judge.
I imagine it doesn’t help Victory’s case that their product also goes by the “King” moniker. The NJOY-Victory e-cigarette lawsuit is still pending and may remain so for quite some time. I’ll post updates as I see them.