18650UK Statement regarding Samsung SDI – Keystone Law Cease and Desist Letters.

Datasheets

Over the past week, businesses in the UK serving the vaping/e-cigarette market have started to receive a Cease and Desist letter from Keystone Law (based in London) on behalf of their client, Samsung SDI – us included.

The basis and reason for this letter is to stop Samsung SDI lithium-ion cells being sold to the vaping industry. Samsung have of course never designed, manufactured or distributed cells for the vaping market and as such, do not endorse it. In fact, they strenuously advise against their use on the grounds that they believe them to be dangerous. You can read their warnings here – https://www.samsungsdi.com/lithium-ion-battery/safe-information.html

I think we speak reliably for the majority of the vaping/e-cigarette market when I say that this is not new information. This information has been available and well known to the industry for years and is why the industry very much self regulates and goes to great lengths to teach vapers and e-cigarette users new and old about the dangers of mis-using these products to ensure they are as safe as can be in use. Its why there are multiple notices, how-to guides and warnings not just on our website (with an entire page dedicated to it) but also the bottom of your invoice, on the product packaging and if you purchase them through one of our wholesale clients, you’ll find the very same warnings replicated through them too.

Over the last several days, we have gone back and forth with Keystone over the basis of Samsung’s case and their right to seek injunctions and court orders against those who sell their products. So far, we’ve had little in the way of progress. We have had legislation pointed out to us as a reason to not sell them that we of course have been able to prove we comply with, thanks in part to our close work with the Office of Product Safety and Standards, Trading Standards and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

At the moment, we’ve reached a stalemate, waiting to see what their next move is. Essentially, so far, the basis of their case (having already been able to demonstrate that we are fully compliant with all of the legislation that has been put in front of us by both Keystone and OPSS/BEIS) seems to be that Samsung list vaping as one of their “Unapproved Practices” and from what we can tell, this still isn’t enough.

Our communication runs into close to 10 pages so far but here are our “sticking” points;

  • Their Cease and Desist states – “it has come to our attention that other claims may now be made in the UK, due to your Unapproved Practices”.  We’ve said – The word “your” sticks out to us there. This same wording is used on all of the C&D letters you have sent, so it would be reasonable to assume that this is merely speculative and amounts to little more than a fishing trip rather than stated fact. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, simply that if Samsung had a case to defend and our name was in it, I’m quite sure they would have been knocking on our door well before a net was cast over the industry from Keystone)

  • It further states – “If SDI continues to incur loss or suffer damage as result of your actions or inactions in this regard, we will take all necessary legal actions including, but not limited to, filing Court proceedings against you for the compensate of all related damages, and for injunctions where necessary”. (Note the word “your” again) Our response – No problem. Please do furnish us with the evidence where we as a business or a business we have supplied, have been directly responsible for such losses and/or damages.  

  • At the end of their letter – “Furthermore, you should and if Court proceedings are required SDI will seek a Court Order that you indemnify and hold harmless SDI, SDI’s affiliate(s), and their respective directors, officers, or employees from and against any and all claims, liabilities, damages, losses, judgments, settlements, costs and expenses (including without limitation, reasonable attorney’s fees) arising from or related to any Unapproved Practices of you.” – Our response – Have Samsung pop over a contract that states this and you’ll have my signature tomorrow.

It would appear/we can only assume that to date, Samsung have not had to defend a themselves in a case where we (or any of our wholesale customers) have supplied a product and therefore have not suffered any losses originating with us. We are however, more than happy to sign something that absolves Samsung in its entirety of any liability for the products we, as a fully compliant retailer, provide to the vaping industry. Given our confidence in our compliance with all of the laws/legislation/regulations that apply to us/the products and the way they are sold, we would be more than happy to shoulder the liability (backed by our very comprehensive product liability insurance) should they wish us to do so. We know that our customers choose us on the basis of our hard earned reputation.

All of the above has no bearing on the quality of product we have supplied the vaping industry in the last 4 years. As above, the vaping industry recognises that while these (like many other non-vaping products) come with their risks in use, good quality, genuine cells from one of the only two fully compliant providers in the UK are still significantly safer than unknown re-wraps and known-to-be dangerous Chinese manufactured products which ironically, it’s what they’re forcing you towards in their battle for “safety”.

In the meantime we will of course be on hand to offer any help or advice needed, but in order to show that we are complying with their requests while we investigate further, we’ve regrettably removed from sale all Samsung products for sale to those we know or could reasonably assume are supplying them to the vaping industry. We’ll provide further information on our recommended replacements for them shortly.

We’ll update in due course but rest assured, 18650UK and its suppliers are already joining forces and working hard in the background to protect your right to use the safest possible options available to you.

Ben Mowbray
Sales Director
18650UK

wholesale@18650.uk

Update: Samsung Alternatives Now Available.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *