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GLENVIEW, Ill. -- Top Tobacco LP and Republic Tobacco LP are taking legal action against several Illinois businesses for trademark infringement, unfair competition and trafficking in counterfeit goods. The companies filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago last month.
Named in the suit are wholesale distribution companies Midwestern Cash and Carry LLC, Midwest Cash and Carry and Midwest Distribution Warehouse, along with several gas station retail locations and various affiliated individuals, according to a news release from Republic Tobacco.
The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the defendants have been knowingly selling, in the Chicago market, counterfeit TOP-brand cigarette rolling papers that were illegally manufactured in China with the specific intent of confusing and deceiving the public. Also named in the lawsuit are Tang Qiwen, the alleged manufacturer of the counterfeit goods.
Top Tobacco and Republic Tobacco seek to stop the defendants from any further counterfeiting, unlawful sales or wrongful use of the TOP trademarks, and to recover from them substantial damages, costs and fees.
"TOP Tobacco and its predecessors have been in the cigarette market for more than 100 years and the mark TOP is well-known among merchants and customers," Steve Sandman said on behalf of Top Tobacco and Republic Tobacco. "TOP-brand products are manufactured and sourced exclusively for, and under the direction of, Republic Tobacco, and such products are sold only through Republic Tobacco. Therefore, we maintain a vigilant anti-counterfeiting program to protect against violations of the TOP Marks, and this action is a firm reminder that such unlawful conduct will not be tolerated."