PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An Oregon company that makes personal lubricants, feminine hygiene and wellness products is alleging that a former business partner is counterfeiting its products in a case that highlights the slippery world of corporate espionage.
Good Clean Love, Inc. and Vaginal Biome Science, Inc., companies based in Eugene, filed the lawsuit this week in a U.S. District Court. They claim its secret formulas and packaging designs were ripped off by a former distributor Epoch Ne Corporation, a company based in Washington state. Lawrence Luo, who is listed as one of two of Epoch’s governors, was also named as a defendant, according to court documents.
The suit is seeking at least $11 million in damages for trademark infringement, breach of contract and other complaints related to Epoch allegedly essentially stealing Good Clean Love’s intellectual property and rebranding it as their own.
Epoch started out as a business partner with Good Clean Love, acting as its distributor to the Chinese marketplace after Luo met with Good Clean Love at a trade show in Las Vegas in 2016, according to the lawsuit.
“Defendants entered into a distributorship with Good Clean Love for the purpose of obtaining information regarding Good Clean Love’s products and business to compete unfairly with Good Clean Love in the feminine hygiene and intimate care space,” states the lawsuit, in which Good Clean Love is listed as being represented by lawyers from the Portland-based law firm Perkins Coie LLP.
According to court records, Luo entered into an agreement with Good Clean Love to be a distributor for their products in October of 2016. Under the agreement, it was prohibited for Luo or Epoch to utilize any confidential information the Eugene company sent them for any purpose other than advancing Good Clean Love’s position within the Chinese market.
Operating under the assumption that the contract would be honored, Good Clean Love sent Luo large amounts of proprietary information related to their products, including highly guarded product formulas, marketing data and business plans, the suit said.
After the agreement between Epoch and Good Clean Love was terminated at the end of 2019, after Luo allegedly struggled to establish the Eugene company in the Chinese market, Epoch filed patents in an attempt to register two feminine hygiene products: “FeminiCare” and “Feminilove,” according to the lawsuit.
Printed on Epoch’s Feminilove Bio-Fresh Moisturizing Vaginal Gel was Good Clean Love’s exact confidential chemical formula, perfected over years, the lawsuit alleged. In addition “Bio-Fresh” allegedly bears a similarity to Good Clean Love’s previously trademarked “BiopHresh.” The phrase “Restore” was also a registered trademark of Good Clean Love prior to Epoch’s usage of the phrase “Restores” prominently featured in block lettering on Epoch’s gel packaging, the lawsuit said.
In addition, the packaging of many of the products by Epoch bear a resemblance to Good Clean Love’s products, according to the court documents. For instance, comparing two similar personal lubricant products from each company, both featured bright green packaging, block white lettering and a square with the bottom right corner cut off that frames the name of the product, the lawsuit said. The phrase “95% organic” is prominently featured on both products.
According to the lawsuit, Good Clean Love is a leader in the organic feminine hygiene space, having honed their formulas over two decades for products such as lubricants, gels, washes, wipes, oils and candles, all designed for women looking to enhance their intimate experiences and improve their health. Their products are now sold on tens of thousands of shelves across the country and internationally.
View the entire lawsuit below:
KOIN 6 News reached out to one of the lawyers at Perkins Coie LLP, who are representing Good Clean Love, but they did not respond in time for publication. In addition, we could not locate contact information for either the lawyers or direct lines for the defendants, Epoch Ne Corporation or Lawrence Luo.