by Darren Crew
In a major recent development that may have a significant impact on patent marking lawsuits, a federal judge held that the U.S. Patent Marking Law is unconstitutional. Unique Product Solutions, Ltd. v. Hy-Grade Valve, Inc., 5:10-cv-01912 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2011).
The U.S. Patent Marking Law (also known as the False Marking Statute) indicates that any person may sue a company for a penalty of up to $500 per article when that company places expired patent numbers on those articles, under certain conditions. 35 U.S.C.§292. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed recently against companies, alleging that expired patent numbers have been affixed to merchandise. This is an area of concern for many companies, because the total penalty could potentially be millions of dollars when an expired patent number is placed on a large number of items.—click here to read more—