In the News: Suits Filled Against Companies with Expired Patents
A patent lawyer from Washington D.C. has filed two separate false patent markings lawsuits – the first against Solo Cup Company and the second against Gillette (and its parent company a href=”http://www.pg.com/en_US/index.shtml” target=”_blank”>The Procter & Gamble Company). These actions, if successful, could cost each company millions of dollars in damage settlements.
According to Matthew Pequignot’s “qui tam” lawsuits, the two companies are marking their products or packaging for the products with expired patent numbers. The suit argues these to be examples of knowingly passing fraudulent claims before the United States government. Qui tam law allows private individuals to prosecute on behalf of the U.S. government, and under the false marketing statute in patent law, it is possible to sue for up to $500 in damages per offense. Recently, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that Pequignot’s suit against Solo could proceed because the United States has in fact been damaged as a result of its patent laws being broken.
“This is a fairly significant instance where not maintaining accurate patent records for product marking purposes could cost two companies millions of dollars in damages,” says Boyle Fredrickson shareholder Mathew E. Corr. “I encourage patent holders to check with their attorneys and make sure the current patent markings on their products are up to date.”
About Boyle Fredrickson
Established in 1999, Boyle Fredrickson has grown to become Wisconsin’s largest intellectual property law firm. You’ve got ideas, we protect them.