Companies argue, threaten legal action over claims


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