In mid-June, the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C., upheld an injunction against Michigan-based Wholesale Tool Co. preventing them from advertising or selling tools suspected to be counterfeits of American Tool Co. Quick-Grip and Vice-Grip products. The tools were advertised in Wholesale Tool’s most recent catalog, and were sold in Wholesale Tool outlets located in Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas.
Robin Clawson, spokesperson for American Tool, claims that a photo of the American Tool products with the labels covered was used in Wholesale Tool’s catalog to advertise the products. In compliance with the injunction, Wholesale Tool must reissue catalogs with the photos in question removed, and must distribute some corrective advertising.
The injunction also requires that Wholesale Tool send out a mailer to all customers who have purchased the tools in question. If customers have purchased a suspicious tool, they may be mailed back to Wholesale Tool Co. for a replacement. According to Clawson, the Wholesale Tool clamp products have red pads, instead of American Tool’s yellow pads, and they may also be labeled "Muganjia."
"[Wholesale Tool] has been very cooperative," says Clawson. "We wish they would not have done what they did, but once we started talking about it we were able to sit down at the bargaining table and correct the situation. It’s not our intention to cause unnecessary grief; it’s to remedy the problem." Clawson says that American Tool hopes to settle out of court with Wholesale Tool. Wholesale Tool Co. declined to comment.