FEDERAL WAY, WA - Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau says it made a six-figure out-of-court settlement with a Louisiana wood producer, averting a lawsuit over trademark infringement for unauthorized use of a certification stamp - a violation of the Lanham Act.
The confidential settlement was agreed to by both parties before a lawsuit was filed, according to PLIB, which also provides lumber grading services and wood pellet biofuel inspection.
The case involved unauthorized use of the trademarked stamp that identifies dunnage material - used for filling voids in freighters - to verify it doesn't inadvertently transport forest pests in the wood used securing freight in international shipments. Pests transported that way, such as the emerald ash borer, can be catastrophic.
“We take trademark infringement seriously and will aggressively pursue all violators,” said Jeff Fantozzi, the PLIB’s president. PLIB says the wood products illegally reproduced the PLIB stamp, using it at multiple sites to gain access to overseas markets. Formally certifying the wood would have been less costly.
It was discovered when another inspection agency visited a Southeastern U.S. stamp making facility and saw the stamp being made. “We do not operate in the Southeastern region where the fraud took place, but another agency that does found the fraud and alerted us," says Fantozzi.
"Illegal use of an internationally recognized certification mark would raise all kinds of red flags with government authorities both here and in the receiving country," he said. "It’s not out of the question to think a foreign government might go after violators for damages as the result of mis-represented lumber.” U.S Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce oversee such programs overall.
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