Local Candle Company says it's being copied

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 08:29:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local candle company that stands for joy with an anti-suicide mission is being copied, which is known as trademark infringement.

"The government allows for fair competition but not unfair competition," explained Arthur Shaffer, patent and trademark attorney for the Intellectual Property Center.

Brandon Love started Crumble Candle Co. back in 2014 when he was going through a tough break up.

"I was going through depression and making candles at the time was my way to get by," explained Brandon Love, who has since branched out into bath products as well. "We really have it pinpointed as to what our cute aesthetic is."

That's bright colors based around green, pink, aqua and yellow and a stylized font with fun names like Boy's Tears and Shark Attack.

"There is glitter in all the candles and some in the hyperpigmentation," Love said as he was pouring a melt for a scent called Coconut Bra.

Little did he know his passion project of making candles would become his salvation, last year filling $1.4 million in sales.

"We have this little candle empire that saved my life," said Love.

In fact, it's grown to be so popular a company recently tried to impersonate him.

Federally, trademarks are protected by their look, feel, words, images, logos and scents.

"If someone looks at this they may think they’re buying booty candle. It says fruit booty with a picture of a peach on it," said Shaffer, as he pointed out similar cursive writing on both peaches and cream candles. "I may be confused as a consumer thinking this is just a new label they put on it."

The knock-off also said its affiliated with Love's company and called itself a pro-joy/anti-suicide aroma company.

Something like that can spark a trademark violation.

"That’s something you have to protect your customers from. Because they don’t know better. If someone is saying, 'I’m this person,'" said Love.

Love spoke to the page owner, who said he would take it down.

41 Action News was unable to reach them.

Love simply wants other business owners to look into their own story.

"It’s not going to be fun for you to be me. It’s only fun for me to be me. Find you because you’re a great person, but look into that. Because if you’re pretending, you’re going to get lost," said Love.

If your design or product is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office you're eligible for 3 times the damage.

Shaffer said trademark rights are based upon who was operating first.