Republic Brands won a significant legal victory in its ongoing fight to protect consumers from the sale of counterfeit goods when a federal jury awarded Republic Brands $11 million in the company’s most recent victory against counterfeiters.
On March 16, 2022, a federal jury awarded Republic Brands and its affiliates $11 million in damages against Georgia-based wholesaler Gabsons Novelties and its owner, Raj Solomon, who was found personally liable. Following a three-day trial in Atlanta, the jury reached the unanimous verdict that Solomon and his company had willfully sold and distributed counterfeit rolling paper products under Republic Brands’ famous TOP and JOB trademarks.
The case against Gabsons and Solomon is the first of three cases going to trial in U.S. Federal Court in Georgia resulting from the criminal and civil raids and seizures of Republic Brands counterfeit product that took place in May 2019 with the assistance of law enforcement. The two other cases, against Star Importers & Wholesalers and ZCell Novelties and their respective owners, are also expected to go to trial in 2022. Republic Brands has also been successful in the last several years in achieving criminal and civil judgments against counterfeiters in Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia and elsewhere.
“Counterfeiters know that Republic Brands will use all means available under the law to protect our consumers’ trust and our company’s reputation,” Republic Brands CEO Don Levin said. “This verdict validates those efforts and sends a strong message that the public will hold counterfeiters accountable for their actions.”
Republic Brands’ anti-counterfeiting efforts are led by Sachin Lele, Republic Brands’ general counsel and executive vice president of legal, and Jessica Roberts, Republic Brands’ senior counsel. Republic Brands’ trial team is led by Maia Woodhouse of Adams and Reese LLP and Sheldon Zenner of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Republic Brands asks for the public to join in reporting counterfeit products by emailing or calling the company.
Rolling company Republic Brands holds the most extensive portfolio in the category, including OCB, JOB, e-z wider, DRUM, Premier, Gambler and TOP brands. With a 200-year-old cultural legacy, the family-owned company is known for innovations such as sustainable bamboo, hemp and flax fiber papers and cones, its natural acacia gum, and internationally-recognized ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 and GMP standards. With its wide-reaching distribution network across 120 countries, Republic Brands operates seven manufacturing facilities across North America and Europe.