To enforce trademark rights Top and Republic file a federal lawsuit against a number of wholesale distribution companies and retailers.
As part of a vigilant anti-counterfeiting campaign to protect the well-known “TOP” trademarks, Top Tobacco L.P. and Republic Tobacco L.P. filed suit last month in federal court in Chicago against local wholesale distribution companies Midwestern Cash and Carry LLC, Midwest Cash and Carry, Midwest Distributors Warehouse, several gas station retail outlets, and various affiliated individuals for trademark infringement, unfair competition and trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the defendants have been knowingly selling in the Chicago market counterfeit TOP-brand cigarette rolling papers that were illegally manufactured in China with the specific intent of confusing and deceiving the public.
Also named in the lawsuit are Tang Qiwen, the alleged manufacturer of the counterfeit goods. Top Tobacco and Republic Tobacco seek to enjoin the defendants from any further counterfeiting, unlawful sales or wrongful use of the TOP trademarks also to recover from them substantial damages, costs and fees.
“TOP Tobacco and its predecessors have been in the cigarette market for more than 100 years and the mark TOP is well-known among merchants and customers,” said Steve Sandman. “TOP-brand products are manufactured and sourced exclusively for, and under the direction of, Republic Tobacco, and such products are sold only through Republic Tobacco. Therefore, we maintain a vigilant anti-counterfeiting program to protect against violations of the TOP Marks, and this action is a firm reminder that such unlawful conduct will not be tolerated,” Sandman continued.
The lawsuit is pending before the Honorable Ronald A. Guzman of the U.S, District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as Top Tobacco L.P., et al. v. Midwestern Cash and Carry LLC, et al., Case No. 1:11-cv-04460.