On April 5, a nine-person jury found an importer and reseller of counterfeit textbooks guilty of copyright and trademark infringement, and in breach of a previous cease and desist order. The lawsuit was filed by the Educational Publishers Enforcement Group against Book Dog Books and Robert William Management and their owner, Philip Smyres.

In its decision, the jury awarded EPEG, which is comprised of Cengage, Pearson Education, John Wiley, and McGraw-Hill Education, a total of $34.2 million in damages, with $20 million for trademark infringement and $14.2 million for copyright infringement.

Among the sites through which Smyres sells textbooks are textbooksrush.com and bookstores.com; textbooks are also for sale on various online marketplaces, including Amazon.

“The jury in this case recognized the inherent value of textbooks and educational publishers, and that book distributors must exercise vigilance to avoid buying and selling counterfeit textbooks,” said attorney Matt Oppenheim who represented the publishers.

Evan Mandel, a lawyer for Smyres, told Inside Higher Ed that the verdict was “unsupported by the facts or the law, and Book Dog Books will appeal.”

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