BenShot and Lucky Shot USA both sell drinking glasses with bullets embedded in the side of the glass. BenShot sued Lucky Shot USA in federal court in Wisconsin, alleging that the defendant falsely promoted its products as having been made in the United States, in violation of the Lanham Act and Wisconsin unfair competition laws.
Lucky Shot marketed its bullet-embedded glasses as being "Made in the USA." Apparently, the glasses themselves (with their indentations) are made in China, but the bullet is glued into the glasses in the United States. There was also a dispute about the extent to which the bullets themselves are American-made and the extent to which at least some of the products are entirely made in China.
After several years of litigation, the case recently went to trial. Earlier this month, the jury found that Lucky Shot had violated the Lanham Act and awarded BenShot more than $3 million in damages, including several hundred thousand dollars in punitive damages.
In a statement issued after the decision, BenShot Co-founder Ben Wolfgram said, "We're fighting back against deceptive marketing and false 'Made in USA' claims."
This case is a great reminder that, although the FTC enforces its own Made in USA standards and its new labeling rule, marketers can also be held liable for false and deceptive U.S.-origin claims in private litigation under the Lanham Act and state false advertising and unfair competition laws.
"We're fighting back against deceptive marketing and false 'Made in USA' claims"