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June 8, 2009

False Marking

Coffee drinker Matthew Pequignot sued Solo Cup for false marking, after noticing on coffee cup lids patent marks for long-expired patents. He then went after Gillette and Proctor & Gamble. Pequignot sued qui tam, on behalf of the government. In March, D.C. district court judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that copasetic. Damages of up to $500 per violation are possible. For mass-produced items, the tab could run to $ billions.

Under the law, the government gets half the take, the righteous citizen the remainder.

A New York judge pitched a similar case brought by Raymond E. Stauffer against Brooks Brothers over still marking its "original Adjustolox" bow tie, because of failure to show harm. By contrast, Brinkema ruled that the U.S. inherently suffered harm by breaking the law. The Justice Department backs her up, and moved to intervene in Stauffer's case.

Brinkema is not gung-ho on this, grudgingly acknowledging Pequignot's right to proceed: "It is likely an accident of history that (the law) survives as one of the few remaining qui tam statutes in American law."

The expected denigration of these legal activists has transpired. Stauffer was labeled a "bounty hunter" by Neil Friedman, who appears to have fallen off the turnip truck and picked himself up just in time to bill hours to Brooks Brothers for their defense. That practically defines every plaintiff lawyer, Mr. Friedman.

On the other side, corporations like Gillette squirm to evade the law by whining: "False markings claims come cheap. They damage defendants' reputations."

False marking acts as territorial pissing, marking turf that is no longer proprietary.

Posted by Patent Hawk at June 8, 2009 2:00 PM | False Marking


I thought that damages were determined per "manufacturing run" as opposed to each manufactured item? (But then I haven't looked at this issue for awhile.)

Posted by: John Prosecutor at June 8, 2009 2:23 PM

I hope they go after Adobe - I believe they have expired patents on their splash screen.

If yes, I would LOVE to see CPF member Adobe suffer.

Anyone know if they have this problem??

Posted by: anonymousAgent at June 9, 2009 9:59 AM

Weird coincidence, but I almost bought Pequignot's house. 607 N Pelham, Alexandria 22304. He was asking 500k and it sold for 460k. The backyard was tiny and it had an addition that seemed to be shoddily constructed.

Posted by: 2600examiner at June 11, 2009 7:00 AM