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Court slaps 37 retailers with $205K in fines in Britto knock-off case

A collection of dozens of counterfeit Britto items sold throughout the island.

A total of 37 defendants in the copyright infringement case filed by pop Artist Romero Britto earlier this year will have to pay a combined $205,000 in fines imposed by the judge overseeing the case after they failed to reach an out-of-court settlement agreement.

U.S. District Court Judge Gustavo Gelpí set the fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 per retailer during a hearing Thursday morning, News is my Business learned.

“We’ve reached agreements with 94 defendants. There are another couple of them that we’ve yet to reach agreements with, but we’ve held off because of the holiday,” said Attorney Dora Peñagarícano, who is representing Britto in the lawsuit that was filed in August.

The fines varied according to the size of the business, how many items they had at the time the lawsuit was filed and the extent of the infringement, Peñagarícano said.

“We also took into consideration how many items were seized and whether this is their first infringement to the intellectual property laws or whether this was the second, third, fourth or fifth counterfeit,” she said. “Obviously we’re not going to request the same damages from a first offender than from a fifth offender. We also considered whether the violation was willful or innocent.”

Since filing the lawsuit, Britto’s attorneys — backed by local and federal law enforcement authorities — have snuffed out scores of Britto knock-off products, including purses, wallets, mugs, umbrellas, watches and articles of clothing, from the local market. That number could reach about 100,000 items after the case is closed early next year.

The defendants found in default are: Babi Shades, Big Save, Discount Fashions, Feyo de Todo, Giani, Grace Figueroa Sánchez, Grisel Fashion Designs, Héctor Joyero, Iván Cepeda d/b/a Kiosk #29 and #30 at Pulguero de Salinas, Jomary’s Beauty Supplies, Jorge LNU, Kiosko Elvin, Kiosko Especial y Descuentos, Kiosko Iván Lugo, Limari’s Accessories, Mayimbe LNU, Melo’s Kiosko #6, Myra Fashion Designs, NY Collection, Perfume World, Rincón Gitano, Silverio Barato Siempre, Sol Gitano, The Qilong Tao, Tienda Pasoel, U Save, Yanessis Outlet, Benicio Carteras y Zapatos, Cano Especiales, New Shine, Pose, Racostte, T-Shirt Specialties, Vipel9cito, Inc., Zurdo Discount, Nayda Colón Escalante d/b/a Nayda’s and More, and Xajonara García.

By law, the defendants have 30 days to voluntarily pay the fines they are facing. Otherwise, Peñagarícano said Britto can request an execution of judgment to go after property to cover the amount awarded in the complaint.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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