Seizure orders from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut have been successfully executed on a number of merchants and individuals who were selling counterfeit Zig-Zag cigarette paper products.
In the case, Michael Rye and Thomas Mango, Cantor Colburn attorneys, acted as local counsel for Marci Ballard and Samantha Rothaus of Venable LLP, for North Atlantic Operating Co. Inc. and the National Tobacco Co. L.P.’s (collectively, “North Atlantic”).
In June 2015, Mango and Cantor Colburn paralegal, Corine Wilkinson, participated in two simultaneous early-morning raids led by U.S. Marshals to successfully execute the seizure orders and to seize counterfeit Zig-Zag products and business records at a commercial business and residence in Plainfield and Moosup, Conn. Each raid team consisted of two U.S. Marshals, several investigators, several data and forensic specialists and an attorney/paralegal team from Venable, Mango and Wilkinson.
Rye helped in developing strategy for the filing of the lawsuit and coordinating the various steps involved with the complex filing process. Mango assisted Venable with the filing of the supporting pleadings, which was accomplished under seal to ensure the success of the seizure. The pleadings included a complaint, ex parte application for seizure order, temporary restraining order, an asset restraining order and numerous supporting documents. Mango personally coordinated each hand filing with the Clerk’s Office. After the initial hearing and the Court’s issuance of the Orders North Atlantic was seeking, Mango took the lead in coordinating the raid logistics with the U.S. Marshals’ Office.
These seizure orders are part of North Atlantic’s strategy of zero tolerance against counterfeit goods imported into the United States. “North Atlantic takes intellectual property infringement seriously and will prosecute known violators to the fullest extent of the law,” said Ballard, who was the lead attorney in this matter and has represented North Atlantic for over fifteen years.
Venable retained Cantor Colburn to serve as local counsel for the filing of this Connecticut lawsuit and to coordinate the execution of the seizure orders. “We were proud to assist Venable in protecting North Atlantic’s intellectual property,” said Mango. “The U.S. Marshals executed the seizure orders efficiently and professionally — they did exceptional work to uphold the law.”
Ballard’s and North Atlantic’s efforts against counterfeit Zig-Zag products have in the past resulted in the seizure of businesses, significant multi-million dollar judgments and criminal liability with federal prison sentences and deportation.
Zig-Zag cigarette paper products are a popular brand of rolling papers that originated in France. The papers, which come in five sizes, are made largely from flax, and use natural gum Arabic.