This seminar is for general praticioners and commercial attorneys who advise companies with patent portfolios. We`ll discuss what the law is, preventive action and, of course, defensive steps should the client be sued.
To their regret businesses large and small are learning the hard way about the growing rash of patent false marking lawsuits filed around the country.
Businesses with IP portfolios tend to overlook that their patents expire. They continue to mark their products and packages with the numbers of the expired patents. Sometimes this is out of ignorance; other times it`s an attempt to keep competition out of the market.
General practitioners and corporate counsel often neglect to warn their clients that there`s a downside: marking of product with expired patent numbers carries substantial legal and monetary risks. In a series of rulings in 2009 and 2010, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that statutory damages of $500 per violation, i.e., for each unit of product offered for sale, can be awarded. If the client sells wrenches priced at $3.00, but "falsely marked", the penalty can be $500 for every wrench in every tool bin in every hardware store where the wrench is on sale. The potential damages can be huge: 10,000 units on sale throughout the country means exposure to $5,000,000 in damages.
The plaintiff need not be a competitor of the patent holder. Any person or party may bring suit as a private attorney general.