A multinational company has filed a lawsuit accusing a Lexington company of selling counterfeit N95 masks during the pandemic, court records show.
The lawsuit charges Old World Timber LLC with trademark infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and other violations, as well as using 3M’s name and trademark without permission, according to the complaint. He also accuses the company of “exploiting a global pandemic for the inappropriate business benefit of the defendant.”
The lawsuit accuses Old World Timber LLC of selling or offering to sell counterfeit 3M 1860 and 1860S N95 surgical masks that were stored in their warehouse. The complaint also alleges that there is no evidence or assurance that the fake masks Old World Timber was trying to sell met the standards or quality control for real N95 masks.
“The continued sale of these counterfeit products by the defendant endangers the health and safety of the general public, as unsuspecting customers buy these 3M brand respirators believing that they are genuine 3M brand respirators that meet to the N95 standard “, according to the complaint.
Although Old World Timber did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Herald-Leader, the company provided a statement to WKYT, the Herald-Leader reporting partner.
“On June 4, 2021, the US Marshal seized masks from Old World Timber,” the company told the news station. “Old World Timber has no interest in buying, marketing or selling counterfeit masks. 3M’s complaint presents only one side of the story. Old World Timber is actively working with 3M to reach a resolution of the matter. In light of the active settlement negotiations in the matter, OWT cannot comment further on the matter. “
In its lawsuit, 3M says Old World Timber knowingly used “forged documents” to sell the product to “unsuspecting customers.”
“Worse yet, the defendant knows these documents are false because 3M said so,” 3M’s lawyers wrote in the complaint. “In these circumstances, the Respondent’s continued illegal activity is causing irreparable harm to 3M and the general public.”
Old World Timber had contacted 3M in December to verify that documents from a Hong Kong seller were genuine and that the N95 masks they were selling were from 3M. A 3M representative advised Old World Timber not to complete the mask deal because some of the documents were false, but the Lexington company continued with the deal anyway, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also accuses Old World Timber of using similar false documents while trying to sell the N95 masks months later.
In a press release, 3M wrote that more than one million masks had been seized from Old World Timber.
“3M will continue to take action against those who sell counterfeit products and put lives at risk during the pandemic, and we appreciate the prompt action of the US Marshals Service and the court to help protect unsuspecting customers,” said Kevin Rhodes, senior vice president of 3M. in the press release. “We will continue to volunteer our resources to check for suspicious offers and remove counterfeit products from the market.” “