On September 28, 2018 a Venable team led by Marci Ballard (NY), Viki Danta (NY), and Maria Sinatra (NY) won $1.9 million in damages, fees, and costs, in a default judgment issued against 9 groups of online counterfeiters with e-commerce stores selling counterfeit Zig-Zag brand cigarette paper products to unwitting consumers. The fake products sold by the e-commerce defendants are known as Zig-Zag® Orange cigarette paper products, and are a flagship product of North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. and National Tobacco Company, L.P. ("North Atlantic"). The online counterfeiters operated on familiar U.S. based e-commerce platforms, such as eBay and Rakuten.
The defendants attempted to dupe U.S. consumers by selling products that imitated the packaging and contents of authentic Zig-Zag® Orange cartons and booklets. The fake products were offered for sale under the guise that they were distributed by North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc., or were "Made in France" – when they were not.
In addition to statutory damages, the Honorable Judge Terrence G. Berg of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan permanently enjoined the defendants from selling counterfeit Zig-Zag® products and awarded North Atlantic its attorneys' fees, costs, and investigative fees related to the case. With this win, North Atlantic reaffirms its zealous pursuit of purveyors of fake merchandise online.