The makers of the iconic BOGG beach bag claim that counterfeits are being sold by several retailers
28 May 2024Trademarks ChannelMarisa Woutersen

BOGG bag maker sues retail giants over 'copycat' bags

The manufacturer alleges that TJX, Hurley, and others are selling copycat versions of its iconic beach bags | Despite efforts to fight infringement, counterfeiters persist, it says, causing consumer confusion and damaging reputation and sales.

The manufacturer of the popular BOGG beach bags has filed a trademark and trade dress infringement complaint in the US against several retailers, including TJX Companies, a subsidiary of TJ Maxx; Hurley; and Home Goods.

Twenty-Six Designs alleges that the defendants have been “manufacturing, importing and selling copycat bags” that are “substantially indistinguishable from the BOGG trade dress”, without permission, causing consumer confusion.

It also asserts that the defendants’ actions are wilful and in bad faith, causing irreparable harm to its reputation and sales.

The BOGG bag, designed by Kimberlee Vaccarella—founder and CEO of Twenty-Six Designs—is a waterproof foam beach bag featuring a generally rectangular shape with rounded bottom corners and a pattern of holes on the front and back.

The bags have been a commercial success, with sales surpassing $20 million in 2021, $47 million in 2022, and $54 million in 2023.

They are sold through various trade channels, including retail stores, wholesale, and online sales nationwide.

The birth of the BOGG bag

Vaccarella started her business in her home in 2008 and after sketching out the look of the BOGG bag, she visited a local craft store and purchased foam and other materials needed to create a prototype of the BOGG bag.

She researched manufacturing methods and learned that the bags she designed and envisioned would have to be manufactured through an injection mould process.

Upon seeing the prototype, Vaccarella realised her vision had come to life, and the distinctive look of the BOGG bag was born.

Since 2011, Twenty-Six Designs has been designing, producing, marketing, and selling its BOGG bags, which feature a distinctive trade dress which has become synonymous with the company.

The BOGG bag trade dress and success

The BOGG trade dress includes the overall look, design, and appearance of the bags, incorporating several specific elements:

  • A generally rectangular shape made from EVA foam with rounded bottom corners;
  • An arbitrary pattern of holes on the front and back faces of the bag;
  • Belt-like looped EVA foam handles fastened with shiny, circular buttons in a contrasting material;
  • Parallel horizontal lines running around the perimeter near the top edge and bottom of the bag;
  • A raised pattern running along the bottom surface and up the sides to the lower horizontal line.

Over the past 13 years, Twenty-Six Designs has sold its BOGG bags internationally and throughout the US in more than 2,500 stores, as well as through its website.

The bags have gained significant media attention, being featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Coastal Living, Country Living, and on Good Morning America, as well as trending on TikTok.

Twenty-Six Designs holds US trademark registration number 7209812, which covers certain aspects of the BOGG bag trade dress, including the horizontal lines around the top and base, the semi-rigid synthetic base with round corners, and the raised zigzag pattern.

Twenty-Six Designs battles counterfeiters

In the suit, Twenty-Six Designs claims it actively monitors the market to protect its IP rights, successfully targeting counterfeiters and infringers.

According to the complaint, these efforts have led to the removal of illegal listings on major online platforms and legal agreements that require the surrender of production moulds, destruction of inventory, stopping manufacturing and sales, and payment of nearly $1,000,000 in profits.

In a separate complaint filed last month, April 2024, the BOGG bag manufacturer sued Hobby Lobby in the New Jersey district court over importing and selling cheaper versions of the beach bag following a potential business opportunity between the pair.

In September 2022, a buyer for Hobby Lobby contacted Twenty-Six Designs to discuss adding BOGG bags to its spring/summer collection—leading to two meetings with Vaccarella.

Following this, Hobby Lobby informed Twenty-Six Designs about its concerns over the price and decided not stock BOGG bags. However, the retail company allegedly started manufacturing and selling copycat bags shortly after.

The complaint against TJX Companies et al was filed in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey on May 23, 2024.

Twenty-Six Designs is represented by CJ Erickson, Kieran Doyle, and Jeremy Berman from Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman.

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