North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. and National Tobacco Company LP along with attorneys at Venable LLP, secured a major victory against cigarette paper counterfeiters in Indiana resulting in a prohibition of the sale of fake ZIG-ZAG® brand cigarette papers. The Venable legal team obtained a preliminary injunction and negotiated a settlement agreement resulting in (i) a permanent injunction and entry of final judgment, and (ii) a lump-sum payment of several hundred thousand dollars, which covers all of North Atlantic’s attorneys’ fees and investigator fees and costs, and statutory damages. This win further underscores North Atlantic’s strategy of zero tolerance against counterfeit goods imported into the U.S.
“This effort, coupled with additional legal actions and raids, signals our vigilance to those that knowingly participate in counterfeit activities,” said James Dobbins, General Counsel for NAOC. “In addition to protecting an important revenue stream for the company, pursuing counterfeiters of the Zig-Zag papers protects our long-standing brand reputation and protects our consumers’ trust. No infraction is too small — whether online or in stores — for us to pursue.”
North Atlantic, the exclusive U.S. source of ZIG-ZAG® brand consumer products and accessories, including ZIG-ZAG® Orange cigarette papers, uncovered a counterfeiting ring in Indiana in 2016 consisting of three individuals operating a dozen retail stores and one wholesale distributor. An investigation confirmed the counterfeiters sold dozens of fake products to undercover investigators.
The Venable team advising North Atlantic included New York-based partner Marci Ballard, and associates Victoria Danta and Maria Sinatra. NAOC’s internal team is directed and lead by LeAnne Moore, Assistant General Counsel for NAOC.
The case is North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. et al. v. KPC Distributor Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 16-cv-00307-TLS (N.D. Ind. 2016).
Authentic Zig-Zag cigarette papers are made from the finest natural fibers and 100% gum Arabic, and manufactured using clear mountain water and a chlorine-free whitening process. The even burn, perfect seal and consistent quality make the experience easy to discern from poor-performing counterfeits. Distributors, wholesalers, retailers or consumers who suspect they may have purchased a counterfeit product are encouraged to let Zig-Zag know by calling 1-800-579-0975.
North Atlantic Operating Company, the sole importer and distributor of Zig-Zag cigarette papers in the US, takes a zero-tolerance stance on counterfeit goods imported into the US. They actively prosecute merchants and wholesalers found selling counterfeit Zig-Zag cigarette paper products, and have conducted several successful seizure raids on counterfeiters over the past several years. NAOC and North Atlantic are subsidiaries of Turning Point Brands, Inc. (NYSE:TPB), a leading provider of Other Tobacco Products.
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