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Pitbull Productions Files Federal Suit Against Distributor

Pitbull Productions Files Federal Suit Against Distributor
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Dec 4, 2006 5:00 AM PST    Text size: 
NEW YORK — Pitbull Productions has stepped up its legal fight against a distributor who allegedly stole and then sold 4,000 of its DVDs. After receiving a restraining order against Yocko Distributors from selling the stolen DVDs, Pitbull Productions filed a lawsuit with additional counts in Federal Court.

The theft was discovered three weeks ago when 4,000 DVDs disappeared from Pitbull Productions’ New York facilities. Police are investigating two performers — one of whom has worked for Pitbull — as suspects in the theft.

Pitbull Productions also has filed an ensuing lawsuit against Yocko over its alleged unauthorized distribution and sale of the stolen DVDs. The company is seeking $5 million in damages. Yocko Principles Lenny and Judy Yocko claim they didn’t realize they purchased stolen goods until well after buying 700 of the DVDs. Retail value of the DVDs is approximately $170,000, according to court documents obtained by XBIZ.

Pitbull Productions’ movies are distributed exclusively by Marina Pacific. A Marina Pacific salesman who noticed some adult stores were selling Pitbull DVDs that had not yet been released is credited with discovering the alleged theft.

In its complaint, Pitbull Productions alleges that Yocko acquired the stolen property and then sold them in the New York market to adult video stores at well below market prices. Two of these stores, 14th Street DVD Center and 300 Video & DVD Center, are named in the federal case.

Pitbull’s federal case centers on trademark infringement claims. Both the Pitbull Productions and Thugporn label are under copyright, which were allegedly violated when 14th Street DVD illegally copied the stolen material, including some footage that had not been released yet.

The suit is an effort by the company to protect its brand, trademark and quality of its productions afforded it by the Lanham Copyright Act.

“Defendants’ use of [Pitbull Productions] trademarks is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among the relevant trade and public as to the existence of an affiliation, connection, or association between Defendants and [Pitbull Productions] as to the origin, sponsorship or approval of the DVDs provided by the Defendants,” Pitbull Productions lawyer Jennifer Meredith said.

Pitbull is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and a jury trail.

Calls to Meredith and Pitbull Vice President Patricia Reshen were not immediately returned.

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