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U.S. Marshals seize brochures at Coverings after manufacturer complaints

May 17, 2005

During the final day of Coverings 2005, U.S. Marshals seized brochures from a Hong Kong tile manufacturer on the show floor, under an order issued by a U.S. District Court judge.

Two Italian tile makers, Marca Corona and Viva, allege that the manufacturer, Onna Ceramiche, distributed brochures at the show that included photographs and layouts copied directly from the catalogs of the two companies.

Fabrizio Zanfi, president of Viva, issued a statement claiming that the photographs used in Onna's marketing material were actually images of his company’s products. Ivano Chiletti, president of Ceramiche Marca Corona, issued a similar statement alleging that his products were also used without authorization.

The two companies petitioned the Florida courts to address the matter. Judge G. Kendall Sharp issued the order that lead to Marshals confiscating the material in question.

Commenting on the seizure, Sergio Sassi, president of Assopiastrelle (the Association of Italian Ceramic Tile Manufacturers) said he was "very pleased" that American courts were available to "distinguish between what is fair competition and what is unfair competition, and to provide relief for those companies -- both domestic and foreign -- whose rights are violated."

Onna Ceramiche, which is based in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, could not be reached for comment.

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