Equipt4 LLC Vs Pick Punch LLC
The battle for supremacy in the custom guitar pick maker market rages on?
Pick-a-Palooza Guitar Pick Maker Extraordinaire
Until recently, the overwhelming majority of those thousands of units were being sold by one distributor, Pick Punch LLC. Their product is the Pick Punch. That generic name was given to a device used to punch guitar picks from any thin pieces of plastic like credit cards, gift cards, hotel room key cards, driver's licenses, etc. Basically it is a novelty item because, let's face it, guitar picks can be purchased by the bag full at any music store or online. Novelty or not, people love to give these pick makers as gifts to guitar players for any occasion, including Christmas, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and of course birthdays. Pick Punch had this market "cornered" for about 5 years or so and was generating quite a bit of revenue by serving this relatively narrow but lucrative niche.
Enter Equipt4 LLC and the Pick-a-Palooza. Equipt4 LLC brought the Pick-a-Palooza to market in May of 2013, seeing the opportunity to get into what it saw as an underserved area of online sales. The Pick-a-Palooza comes with 4 plastic strips with designs and a guitar pick holder for added value. Equipt4 LLC also developed a satellite product called the Pick-a-Palooza Pick Pack, a pack of 20 plastic strips made especially for guitar pick makers. Equipt4 LLC branded their device and set out to promote their new product and customer service.
After selling for approximately 1 month, Equipt4 LLC was contacted by Pick Punch LLC and threatened with legal action for infringing on a patent for the pick punch device. Equipt4 LLC did due diligence and determined there were no grounds for this action. According to a spokesperson for Equipt4 LLC, the patent referred to was a "Method Patent", not a patent on the device itself. The method patent covered the method of punching guitar picks from plastic I.D. cards and even that was questionable. Equipt4 LLC contacted an attorney and continued to sell. The Pick-a-Paloozas sales gained momentum throughout the summer. In August, Pick Punch LLC sent papers to Equipt4 LLC stating intent to proceed with legal action. Communications were ongoing for several weeks between both parties but were not fruitful. As a result, Equipt4 LLC decided to move forward with legal action of its own, asserting Pick Punch LLC had no intellectual property rights regarding this guitar pick making device and no trademark rights to the words "pick punch" as they are descriptive of the action of making a guitar pick from thin plastic. This all may be a bunch of legal jargon but it is interesting to note how competition can spark a legal battle. When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Equipt4 LLC said, "Sadly this all could have been avoided because there really is no case here. The Pick-a-Palooza will be around for a long time. We had no choice but to fight back and our actions were necessary to remove the cloud from our company and product".
The legal system being what it is and as the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow, this litigation will most likely go on for several months if not years. Meanwhile the selling of guitar pick makers continues to increase with each passing week. Recently there has been a flood of competitors into the market, making for a challenging sales and marketing environment. Pick-a-Palooza and Pick Punch have what may be considered a leg up on the competition just because they have been selling longer and have a "footprint" on the internet, but according to Equipt4 LLC, "the rear view mirror is looking pretty full these days".
About Equipt4 LLC
Equipt4 LLC is an internet marketing company based in Potomac, Maryland dedicated to quality products and customer service.
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