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Publishers Win Big in Fake-Textbook Lawsuit

April 9, 2018
 
 

Publishers Wiley, Cengage, Pearson and McGraw-Hill Education have won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a seller of fake textbooks.

Book Dog Books, a textbook-selling company, was last week found guilty of multiple counts of trademark and copyright infringement. The company was fined $34.2 million -- thought to be one of the largest amounts ever awarded to publishers in a counterfeit-textbook case.

The founder of Book Dog Books, Philip Smyres, owns multiple textbook-selling companies and has been locked in various legal battles with publishers over the last decade.

Matthew Oppenheim, the lead trial lawyer for the publishers, said that the jury “recognized the inherent value of textbooks, and that it is not acceptable to sell counterfeit textbooks, no matter your excuse.” He added, “If you’re a bookseller, whether you’re selling online or on the ground, you have an obligation to make sure that you are selling legitimate product.”

Evan Mandel, a lawyer who represented Smyres, said that Book Dog Books is “committed to doing everything that can reasonably be done to avoid the sale of fake books,” including tracking and inspecting books. He added that the jury’s verdict was “unsupported by the facts or the law, and Book Dog Books will appeal.”

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