Removal of UPC Codes Constitutes Trademark Infringement

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On June 19, 2009, in Zino Davidoff SA v. CVS Corp., the Second Circuit enjoined CVS, a national retail chain, from removing unique production codes ("UPC") from Davidoff product packaging for its "Cool Water" fragrances on the grounds of trademark infringement.1[1] Davidoff, a high end luxury brand, imprints a unique UPC on every product for quality control purposes and to protect against diversion and counterfeiting. The code contains basic information about each product unit, including "where and when it was produced, ingredients used, and distribution path."2[2] The UPC code ordinarily is used to track goods that are sold to and by unlicensed distributors. The Davidoff UPC also allows Davidoff to spot defects easily and swiftly recall or remove products from the market when such defects are noted. The UPC is used to protect the reputation of the brand and its trademarks.

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