Companies argue, threaten legal action over claims

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Star brite and ValvTect Marine Fuels, two companies that manufacturer fuel additives to combat problems associated with ethanol-blended gasoline, are at odds over marketing material each has distributed, which they say misleads the public about their respective products.

“There is a big conflict that’s brewing and I’m sure it’s going to become a legal issue,” Jerry Nessenson, president of ValvTect, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

“He’s making claims that are blatantly not true,” Star brite‘s vice president of marketing, Bill Lindsey, said this morning of Nessenson.

Earlier this month, Star brite CEO Peter Dornau sent a letter to Nessenson asking him to stop “your misleading and fraudulent ads that you have been running in national magazines comparing your product verses Star Tron.” Dornau claims the ValvTect ads “are a fraud and misstate facts, use obsolete ASTM tests, quote ASTM tests that have nothing to do with fuel additives and are totally misleading.”

Nessenson insists that both the test results and the marketing material outlining those results are “fair and accurate.”

“The tests were done under ASTM protocol,” he said, adding, “It was an independent lab that ran the test. We did not modify the tests or tell them how to run them.

“We believe it was fair and accurate marketing,” Nessenson continued. “We don’t say that Star Tron doesn’t work; we merely posted the results.”

Nessenson said this dispute started when Star brite began giving a PowerPoint presentation within the marine industry that claimed ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment contains alcohol, soap and emulsifiers. None of that is true, he says.

“We’ve demanded that Star brite remove any reference to ValvTect in that PowerPoint presentation,” Nessenson said.

“We’re prepared to seek an injunction to prevent any further distribution of that PowerPoint,” he said.

Lindsey said Star brite also is considering legal action, and the company’s attorneys advised him not to provide details of any potential legal action at this point.

– Melanie Winters



4 comments on “Companies argue, threaten legal action over claims

  1. Jerry Nessenson

    I belive that most important issue is what method of protection is more effective for boaters.  I believe the following is accurate of discription of ValvTect’s technology which is based on additive technology accepted by the world’s gasoline refiners, fuel additive manufactureres and engine manufactureres and the enzyme technology Star Brite claims.

    ValvTect’s method is to hold an “acceptable” (by ASTM and engine manufacture specifications) amount (parts per million) of water in suspension to be filtered out by the water separator/filter and/or harmlessly burned off in the combustion process (accepted method by engine manufacturers) and to prevent corrosion by including a corrosion inhibitor in the formula for ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment.
    Star Brite’s method is to drop out the moisture (some ethanol would also have to be dropped out) to the bottom of the customer’s fuel tank and include no corrosion inhibitor. 

    We (along with gasoline refiners and engine manufactures) believe the build up (pooling) of moisture (and some ethanol) in bottom of the boaters fuel tank will eventually cause the very problems that a fuel additive is supposed to prevent, such as phase separation and corrosion.

    Finally, Star Brites fraudlant discription of ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline addtive as containing alchol and is a soap is absolutely false/untrue. However, I do believe Star Brite makes good boat soap.

  2. Bill Lindsey

    ValvTect actually began all this by running an attack ad in Boat/US magazine that featured an image of our product as well as what were purported to be supporting test results. We asked ValvTect to either provide test data supporting their claims or cease running the ad. They declined to do so. A similar press release was then sent to many marine publications.
    In response, we commissioned the same tests cited - as much as was possible – neither Star brite nor the EPA have any clue as to the Chrysler, BMW & Ford tests cited in ValvTect’s ad. The results were markedly different than what was claimed by ValvTect. We even anticipated ValvTect managing to cite the wrong test - we commissioned both the ASTM D-1064 as well as the E-1064 test. What does misquoting a test in an ad say about a firm’s credibility or attention to detail? Not using spellcheck is easy to overlook -  citing an entirely different test is quite another. 
    We will address the “facts” cited above at a later date,but we will say that holding any amount of water in fuel (that’s emulsification) is a bad thing, and especially so with ethanol-blended gasoline.
    We will post the results of the tests we have commissioned as well as the methodology used on our website. They were performed by the nation’s leading petroleum analysis firm.
    We did not start this matter, but ValvTect has forced us to respond in order to defend our product and set the record straight.
    We are able to selll Star Tron based solely on its many merits – we respectfully asked that ValvTect do the same.

  3. Jerry Nessenson

    Mr. Norris:
    I find your statement calling ValvTect and StarBrite “snake oil salesmen” offensive and ignorant (even if in jest).
    Regardless of the dispute between ValvTect and StarBrite regarding their technology, both companies are highly sucessful and respected in their respected markets. I will let Star Brite respond to you on their own if they wish.
    However please understand that the technology ValvTect (and other reputable fuel additive companies) develop and  manufacture require years and “millions” of dollars of R&D and testing to meet engine manufacuture, EPA and refiner requirements.
    In ValvTect’s case, many of the nation’s largest fleets, such as FedX, Waste Management, Ryder, etc, and the world largest railroads treat their fuel with ValvTect fuel additives as well as engine maufacturers who we manufacture private lable fuel additives products for. Over 300 refiners, gasoline and diesel fuel distributors, fleets and almost 500 marinas sell gasoline and diesel fuel treated with ValvTect products evey day. We cannot estimate the many thousands of vehicles and vessels that trust and use ValvTect and Diesel Guard (our on road diesel additives) every day that provide improved fuel economy, longer engine life and reduced exhaust emissions. Im am sure “even you” can understand the spefications and testing our products must pass in order for these companies to trust products such as ours to be used in their engines without concern for long term compatability problems as well as for definable benefits they expect.
    I trust you may change your opinion of “snake oil salesmen”.
    Jerry Nessenson, President ValvTect Petroleum Products

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