LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Recently, National Tobacco Company and its sister company North Atlantic Operating Company (NAOC) won a $3.1 million judgment against 14 groups of online counterfeiters selling Zig-Zag® papers through eBay and other online sellers, following up an earlier injunction entered against the sales of the counterfeit products. National Tobacco and North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. are subsidiaries of Turning Point Brands, Inc. (TPB), a leader in the Other Tobacco Products space.
As an industry leader, TPB takes industry safeguarding and advancement seriously. The online seller judgment and several others recently won reflect Zig-Zag’s® Zero Tolerance campaign against those who counterfeit Zig-Zag® rolling papers.
NAOC won an injunction against and received significant damages from a Los Angeles wholesaler, after finding they sold counterfeit Zig-Zag® rolling papers in direct violation of the Lanham Act and in contempt of a prior injunction against the sale of infringing Zig-Zag cigarette papers. Under the order, the wholesaler and its principals will no longer be able to sell any Zig-Zag® products. In a market such as California, where Zig-Zag® is so popular, barring the sale of Zig-Zag® products is a huge blow to a distribution business.
National Tobacco has long had a zero-tolerance strategy toward counterfeiters. “We will pursue those who violate our rights with litigation, investigation and through cooperation with federal, state, local and foreign police,” said LeAnne Moore, Assistant General Counsel for National Tobacco Company.
Through advanced marketplace monitoring, improved compliance programs that incentivize partners to report counterfeits, and increased communication and coordination with law enforcement agencies, National Tobacco is aggressively rooting out and punishing those who violate its rights. National Tobacco also works in many ways to help retailers, wholesalers and consumers identify counterfeit Zig-Zag® products and to hold counterfeiters responsible for their crimes. Through educational campaigns in print advertisements, postcards, and trade shows, and the recent launch of www.authenticzigzag.com, the company proactively ensures its salesforce and consumer base can spot a counterfeit Zig-Zag®.
“I am proud of our Zero Tolerance efforts to stop counterfeit products that undermine the authentic Zig-Zag® experience,” said Moore. “We work every day to stay ahead of the counterfeiters and ensure the quality of our products. Our consumers, retailers, and wholesalers count on us to keep the industry clean.”
Over the last 13 years, National Tobacco and NAOC scored major civil and criminal wins around the country, showing the consequences of counterfeiting Zig-Zag® products. Those wins have resulted in federal criminal sentences, deportations, multi-million dollar judgments, seizures of an entire business, and seizures of virtually all of the inventories of businesses to satisfy judgments.
National Tobacco has also taken the fight to the internet, monitoring activity on online sites including Amazon, DHGate and eBay. This initiative resulted in the $3.1 million judgment described earlier, as well as injunctions against numerous online sellers, with damages motions pending.
While Zig-Zag® is not the only rolling paper affected, it leads the industry in taking a firm zero-tolerance stance against counterfeits. Consumers, retailers, and wholesalers recognize and appreciate the above and beyond efforts NAOC is taking to stop counterfeiters.
About Turning Point Brands, Inc.
Louisville, Kentucky based Turning Point Brands, Inc. (NYSE: TPB) is a leading U.S. provider of Other Tobacco Products. TPB, through its three focus brands, Stoker’s® in smokeless products, Zig-Zag® in smoking products and the VaporBeast® distribution engine in NewGen products, generates solid cash flow which it uses to finance acquisitions, increases brand support and strengthens its capital structure. TPB does not sell cigarettes. National Tobacco and North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. are subsidiaries of Turning Point Brands, Inc. (TPB), a leader in the Other Tobacco Products space. More information about the Company is available at its corporate website, www.turningpointbrands.com.