As reported in the June 4, 2012 Petroleum Quality Institute of America Newsletter, Mid-States Energy (MSE) is enjoined from selling or offering for sale any lubricant products in five-gallon buckets or 55-gallon drums bearing a label with CITGO trademark or name. According to CITGO's suit, MSE and its Highland Oil Division allegedly put something other than CITGO in the drums and pails it sold with CITGO labels. Click here for full story.
But there is more. In addition to taking Mid-States Energy to court, CITGO filed a lawsuit last month against Trimen Oil Sales, Inc. (Gardena, CA). The suit alleges that Trimen had also put something other than CITGO in the drums and pails it sold with CITGO labels.
CITGO began its investigation in April 2012 when it became aware that Trimen had obtained repackaging labels from CITGO for several products CITGO says Trimen had not purchased in bulk for several years. Following this discovery, CITGO hired an independent ASTM accredited laboratory to purchase and test the full range of CITGO products sold by Trimen. According to the test results, CITGO says 4 of the 7 products repackaged and sold by Trimen under the CITGO Marks were not CITGO products. The results on the balance of the samples tested were inconclusive.
Based on this, CITGO filed a lawsuit last month seeking US District Court Action to temporarily restrain and preliminarily and permanently enjoin Trimen from using CITGO's Marks, or any other name or mark likely to cause confusion with CITGO's Marks, on any lubricant products. Further they ask that Trimen be required to provide CITGO, for destruction, all counterfeit and infringing products, and goods, labels, signs, and other printed materials in Trimen's possession bearing the CITGO Mark or imitations.
The Petroleum Quality Institute of America applauds CITGO for applying a low cost - high impact technique to help assure product integrity when its marketers repackage CITGO from bulk. Further, we suspect CITGO's efforts will send a strong message to lubricant marketers.
Note: A lawsuit or order granting motion for preliminary injunction should not be considered findings of fact or liability.