July 28, 2010 - Philip Morris USA today, July 27th filed lawsuits in federal court against eight retailers for allegedly selling counterfeit versions of Marlboro cigarettes in the New York City area.
These lawsuits are the latest in a series of filings by PM USA aimed at combating the sale of counterfeit cigarettes in New York. Since May 2009, the company has filed lawsuits against 47 retailers in New York for selling counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes.
Some related news briefs:"The New York metropolitan area is the most lucrative market in the US for counterfeit and contraband cigarette smugglers," said Joe Murillo, vice president and associate general counsel, Altria Client Services, speaking on behalf of PM USA. "The highest cigarette excise taxes in the nation – $6.86 per pack in federal, state and city taxes – fuel this illicit trade, making New York the largest market for counterfeit and contraband cigarettes in the country.
Philip Morris USA (PM USA) filed additional lawsuits in March 2010 against eight retailers for selling counterfeit versions of the company’s Marlboro® brand cigarettes in New York and New Jersey.
On Friday, January 22nd PM USA sued another New York retailer, accusing G.J. Smokes in Mastic (a town on New York's Long Island) of selling counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes.
Back in November 2009 PM USA filed lawsuits against ten retailers selling counterfeit versions of the company’s Marlboro® brand cigarettes in New York and New Jersey.
These lawsuits are part of the company’s on-going efforts to stop the sale of counterfeit cigarettes and the unauthorized use of PM USA’s trademarks.
“New York State's lack of effective enforcement on cigarettes sold to Native American retailers makes the already significant problems in the New York area worse," added Murillo.
In a related case, PM USA said it had sued Tammy's Smoke Shop, a smoke shop on the Poospatuck Indian Reservation on Long Island, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. And on July 19, it said, the judge in that case had determined that PM USA was entitled to $100,000 statutory damages for trademark infringement based on the sale of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes.
The judge noted in the decision that “the record indicates there are numerous other cigarette sellers in defendants’ vicinity on the Poospatuck Indian Reservation (PM USA has filed actions against other smoke shops on the reservation for alleged sale of counterfeit Marlboro® brand cigarettes), [and] there appears to be a real need to deter others from such insidious conduct.”
“New York is slated to begin collecting excise taxes September 1st on cigarette sales by New York wholesalers to Native American retailers for sales to non-tribal consumers,” Murillo explained. “Effective tax collection could help stabilize the legitimate cigarette distribution channel in New York, which is increasingly under attack from counterfeit and contraband cigarette smuggling,” said Murillo.
In addition to violating trademark laws, counterfeit cigarettes are almost always sold without the appropriate federal and state excise tax. The counterfeit cigarettes purchased from the retailers named in today’s suits bore no tax stamp or a counterfeit tax stamp. As a result, the applicable excise taxes were not paid.
See reference for list of retailers in which lawsuits were were filed against in federal court.
Reference: a href="http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100727007079&newsLang=en">Philip Morris USA Sues Retailers Across New York City to Combat Counterfeit Cigarette Sales, Philip Morris USA, 7/27/2010.
PM USA - NYC area, counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes related news briefs:
Philip Morris USA - filed lawsuits against 8-retailers in New York and New Jersey..;
Philip Morris USA sued another New York retailer..;
Mastic NY man arrested illegally trafficking in untaxed cigarettes..;
NYC Area - more counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes seized..;
NYC - wins round in fight against Indian Tobacco Vendors..;
PM USA found more counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes in the NYC area..;
Philip Morris USA sues over counterfeit Marlboros..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;