Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau has agreed to an out of court settlement in a trademark infringement claim the organization had made against a company in the Southern U.S. for unauthorized use of a certification stamp. The confidential settlement, valued in the six-figure range, was agreed to by both parties before a lawsuit was filed.
Citing confidentiality, PLIB would not release the name of the company in the South, other than to report it is based in Louisiana.
According to PLIB, the case involved unauthorized use of the trademarked stamp that identifies dunnage material certified under the International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC) International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 (ISPM 15). The purpose of the ISPM 15 program is to protect the health of the world’s forests by restricting the inadvertent transportation of forest pests in the wood used for packaging and dunnage in international shipments. When pests gain a foothold in areas where there are few, if any, natural predators, the results can be catastrophic.
The Louisiana company is involved in exporting to overseas markets. The company learned that the dunnage (lumber used to fill voids in the cargo area of ships) it was using required ISPM 15 certification. Rather than subscribe to a certification service to provide the necessary inspections and certification stamps, PLIB believes that the company instead chose to illegally reproduce the PLIB stamp and use it to gain access to overseas markets. The company was found to be using the unauthorized stamps at multiple facilities.
The trademark violation was discovered when another inspection agency that operates in the South conducted a routine check at a local stamp making facility in the region, a stamp company PLIB does not work with. “When it comes to protecting trademarks and the integrity of our certification programs, we inspection services have each others’ backs,” PLIB stated. “We do not operate in the Southeastern region where the fraud took place, but another agency that does found the fraud and alerted us. Violators can be sure that there are a lot of eyes out there looking for improprieties.”