RICHMOND, Va.– LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Philip Morris USA filed lawsuits today against retailers selling counterfeit versions of the company’s Marlboro® brand cigarettes. The company filed three suits against 105 retailers in federal courts in New York and New Jersey. The lawsuits are aimed at stopping the sale of counterfeit cigarettes and the unauthorized use of Philip Morris USA’s trademarks.
“The sale of counterfeit cigarettes undermines the value of Philip Morris USA’s brands and the legitimate channels through which our products are distributed and sold,” said Charlie Whitaker, vice president, Compliance and Brand Integrity, Philip Morris USA. “Selling counterfeit cigarettes is illegal, and we will take action to protect our brands.”
These suits are the result of the company’s periodic marketplace purchases of cigarettes. Each of the named defendants sold counterfeit cigarettes during recent purchases in New York or New Jersey. Philip Morris USA shares the results of these purchases and other information with law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels.
“We believe that the vast majority of retailers are committed to selling cigarettes legally and responsibly,” said Ross Webster, vice president, Customer Service and Merchandising, Philip Morris USA. “We hope that these lawsuits protect retailers from unfair competition and encourage others to comply with the law.”
Philip Morris USA pursues numerous strategies to address the sale of counterfeit, illegally imported, stolen and untaxed or under-taxed cigarettes. The company actively supports the efforts of authorities to enforce laws related to cigarette trade; advocates for enhanced federal and state legislation to address the sale of contraband cigarettes; and pursues litigation or other actions against those who violate Philip Morris USA trademark rights, contracts or trade policies.
The lawsuits, filed in the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York and the District of New Jersey, name as defendants retailers in both states.
More information on Philip Morris USA, its policies and positions on tobacco issues is available at www.philipmorrisusa.com.