The suspicious shipments of cellphone accessories that U.S. Customs has intercepted five times at JFK Airport have one thing in common. The intended destinations were associated with a Cortlandt Manor resident.
Customs notified Otter Products LLC after each incident that imports bearing its trademarks had been seized. Otter Products, of Fort Collins, Colorado, markets a line of waterproof and durable protective cases for cellphones, tablets and other electronics.
The company then bought samples offered for sale online by the importers. They were counterfeit.
Otter has sued the importers, accusing them of selling bogus merchandise and infringing its trademarks. The complaint, filed in federal court in White Plains on Aug. 23, names Frank C. Tetro, Sell Phone Basement LLC, Spectre Computers Ltd., Kraymerica LLC, and Techsaurus.
Tetro did not respond to email and voicemail requests for comment.
Customs seized nearly 400 suspicious Otter cases from November 2014 through July 2017. The importer of record was listed four times as Techsaurus, at Tetro’s home in Cortlandt Manor or at locations in Croton-on-Hudson or Yorktown Heights. The fifth shipment was imported by Kraymerica Joseph King at Tetro’s home address. Sell Phone Basement also has an address in Mohegan Lake.
Otter made five online purchases on eBay.com, Walmart.com and Rakuten.com from sellers identified as techsaurus, Ihold450, Spectre and Sell Phone Basement. The items Otter received bore its trademarks, the company said, but were not authentic.
Otter also sent cease-and-desist letters, but the illegal importing allegedly continued. The company said it does not know the full extent of illegal activity because Customs rarely catches counterfeit goods. The products intercepted at JFK and the samples purchased online “are merely the tip of the iceberg.”
Otter accuses Tetro and his businesses of trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition and unlawful importation. It is asking the court to restrain the defendants from counterfeiting, importing or distributing merchandise connected to Otter and to order them to destroy all unauthorized materials bearing its trademarks.
The lawsuit lists 11 of Otter’s registered trademarks, such as Otterbox, Defender Series and Commuter Series. It is asking the court to award at least $2 million in damages for each mark that has been counterfeited.