Huge Victory for Educational Publishers Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson and Wiley in Jury Trial Regarding Counterfeit Textbooks

Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson, and Wiley have won a $34.2 million verdict against a group of online booksellers and their owner for dealing in counterfeit textbooks. In a three-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 1:13-cv-00816 (WHP) (GWG) & Case No. 1:16-cv-07123 (WHP) (GWG), a nine-person jury unanimously found Defendants — several Ohio-based bookselling companies, including Book Dog Books and Robert William Management, and their owner, Philip Smyres — liable for willful trademark infringement, willful copyright infringement, and breach of a prior settlement agreement.

Defendants sell online through their websites, textbooksrush.com and bookstores.com, as well as through numerous storefronts on online marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Abebooks, Alibris and others. The Defendants’ primary Amazon storefront is named Apex_Media. The trial consolidated two separate cases against different combinations of these Defendants. The first case was filed back in 2013. After newly discovered counterfeits could no longer be added into the first case, a second case was filed in 2016.

Counterfeits are fakes of the real product. They are illegal regardless whether of handbags, prescription drugs, or textbooks. The sale of counterfeit textbooks harms all those involved within the ecosystem of creating, distributing, and using high quality textbooks, including authors, students, publishers, and others.

Matt Oppenheim, lead counsel for the publishers, commented: “We believe that the jury understood the inherent and important value of educational textbooks, and that book distributors have an obligation to ensure that their inventory is authentic product.”

The education world has been plagued by an increase in counterfeit books in recent years. In response, the publishers have actively enforced their legal rights against those found distributing counterfeit materials. Several publishers have also developed Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices, which are available on the educational website located at stopcounterfeitbooks.com. The Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices are intended to assist distributors with combating counterfeits of print textbooks that hurt students, educators, publishers and distributors.

In the litigation, Cengage, Wiley, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson were represented by a team at Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP (oandzlaw.com).

About Cengage

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher ed, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service. We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at http://www.cengage.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education is a learning science company that delivers personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators and professionals drive results. McGraw-Hill Education has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America and makes its learning solutions available in more than 60 languages. Visit us at mheducation.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more information, Pearson.com.

About Wiley

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. Visit us at wiley.com.

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