Representatives from a national lumber organization says that a Philadelphia-based
manufacturer of industrial wood products has wrongfully used trademarked logos and stamps, according to a suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NeLMA) says that the owners of Atlas Wood Products lost the right to use the quality-control stamps on its products in May 2014, yet marketing materials published on the company's website have not been altered. The outdated information could mislead potential buyers that the products have been properly treated and certified by a NeLMA inspector, the suit says.
Plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction against Atlas Wood Products, preventing the company from using its logos and stamps, the seizure of any records documenting the sale of products using the NeLMA trademarks, the destruction of any signs, wrappers and advertisements bearing the NeLMA logo and the recovery of any profits made by the use of the logo.
According to the complaint, NeLMA offers certification inspection services to facilities that produce wood packaging products, such as pallets and crates. In order to prevent the spread of pests in the lumber material, the wood used for international shipping must follow special guidelines, using either a heated treatment, at a minimum of 133 degrees Fahrenheit fro 30 minutes, or a chemical fumigation with methyl bromide. NeLMA's services are used only for the heated treatment method, providing stamped lumber to the manufacturers for the production process.
The claim says that several companies which demonstrate the ability to properly treat the lumber are licensed to use NeLMA's stamps, signifying to the public the wood being used has met the national standards.
Atlas Wood Services carried such a license until May 8, 2014, when NeLMA revoked the company's right to use the stamps, according to the complaint. The claim alleges that the company website continued to state that it had the right to apply a NeLMA certification stamp on its products. Similar claims had been made on advertisement posted on Craigslist.org, the complaint says.
"In using the stamp and the counterfeit marks in their wood packaging business," the claim says, "defendants seek to trade off the good will and worldwide recognition of the Wood Packaging Materials Inspection Program without acknowledging ownership of the NeLMA marks by NeLMA."
The plaintiffs allege that Atlas Wood Services is willfully misappropriating the trademark in an attempt to confuse the national and international markets into thinking that its products are associated with NeLMA, benefiting from the organization's goodwill and reputation within the industry.
NeLMA is represented by attorneys from Bernstein Shur in Portland, Maine.
The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06125-GAM.