37 retailers to pay $925K fine in Tous counterfeit suit
Some six months after Tous — the Spanish design house known for its emblematic teddy bear — filed a civil suit against Puerto Rican businesses and individuals for allegedly selling counterfeits of its products, the U.S. District Court in San Juan issued a combined $925,000 in fines against 37 defendants in the case.
Each will be responsible for coming up with $25,000 to cover statutory damages to Tous as a result of their counterfeiting the plaintiff’s protected works, the attorney representing the designer, Dora Peñagarícano, partner of the McConnell Valdés law firm, told this media outlet.
“The next step in the case is to execute the judgment against the 37 defendants,” she said, “We’re very satisfied with the results of the case, since almost all counterfeit Tous items were removed from the Puerto Rico market.”
On May 15, 2013, Tous filed a “verified complaint” for a temporary restraining order, for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and for monetary damages for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, trademark counterfeit, trade dress infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition against 177 defendants originally included in the lawsuit.
Less than a week later, the U.S. Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order, Seizure Order, an Order to Show Cause and a Sealed Search and Seizure Writ to the U.S. Marshal, which resulted in the seizure more than 8,400 counterfeit Tous items from many of the defendants.
On May 30 of that year, the Court also ordered the defendants to stop selling, producing, distributing or otherwise making money off of knock-off Tous products. That preliminary injunction resulted in settlement agreements between Tous and 70 of the defendants.
The list of defendants that must pay fines is as follows: Arelis Amaro; Andrea Fantasy Store; Anwar Mohamed Awad; Biancco & Corp.; Centro Discount Store; Emiliesca Chong; Héctor Colón-Rodríguez; Dreams & Fantasy Shop; Elena Espinal; Jonathan Estrella-Vargas; Farmacia González Inc.; Farmacia Los Angeles Inc.; Xajonara Garcia-Torres; Corporation Glamour; Gold & Time Store; Gold Father Inc.; Nick J. González-Rivera; Juliana Hernández; JM Distributors Inc.; Jade & Gem Corp.; Jasil Gold House Inc.; Joyería De Diego; Joyería Jerry Soto; Joyería Pepino Inc.; Joyería Walymar; Kiosko Juan; Kiosko Katty; La BBB Fantasy Inc.; Megdyl Store; Pete’s Plata y Más Store; Rápido Jewelry Repair Inc.; David Rodríguez; Reina Rodríguez-Santiago; Scala Jewelry; Toda Cosa Inc.; and, Xkultura Store.
This is the second anti-piracy case filed by a major designer in recent years. In September 2011 pop artist Romero Britto — also represented by Peñagarícano — filed a civil suit seeking to eliminate thousands of counterfeit items bearing his bright and colorful copyrighted designs from the Puerto Rico market, as this media outlet first reported.