Trade group sues N.H. wood pellet firm

A Greenland, N.H., wood pellet firm used counterfeit markings to indicate that its product was inspected for heat resistance, according to a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Concord.

Northern States Pallet Company Inc. used Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NeLMA) inspection stamps even though NeLMA didn’t inspect the products nor did it give permission to use the stamps, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Concord.

NeLMA, a trade organization in Maine, conducts the inspection program to insure that lumber is treated by heat or chemicals to prevent insect infestations from international trade shipments. It also makes sure that softwood lumber has met specifications approved by the American Lumber Standards Committee.

“The NeLMA Marks have acquired an extraordinary degree of consumer recognition in the minds of the relevant public,” according to the lawsuit.

Northern States Pallet President Jim Jackson — who is named in the suit individually — allegedly acquired the stamp from another wood products company without that company’s consent, the suit alleges, and then proceeded to use it on Northern State products.

“Defendants seek to trade off the goodwill and worldwide recognition of the Wood Packaging Materials Inspection Program …. deceiving or confusing the public throughout the nation and the World,” according to the suit.

The trade association is asking for compensation damages, treble damages, disgorgement of profits and attorney’s fees.

Jackson referred calls to his attorney, Jeff Snow who said, that the complaint, “doesn’t have merit, and Northern States will defend itself against these claims.” — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW