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Invalid Patent Numbers: Lawsuits

This will discuss how some companies put invalid patent numbers on their products, in this case, toys. This will also discuss lawsuits against those companies.

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In Pittsburgh there was a lawsuit against a maker of the toy Wooly Willy. The lawsuit was just settled over Wooly Willy’s makers using an expired patent number which you can find on the packaging of the toy. But there are hundreds of other toys with wrong patent numbers out there that there is fighting over. Companies for toys are looking for a defense against false marketing. They are looking for ways out of millions of dollars in lawsuits.

Donald Rupert is a Chicago patent lawyer who tracks these lawsuits said, “ I don’t see these cases going away sometime soon. “

More than 600 people are suing 900 manufacturers in Federal Court under an unusual statue that gives citizens rights to sue the company using the patent law. There was $500 penalty for each violation of the law which until 2009 meant a $500 for each toy when the company put a false patent number on toys.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit made a ruling in December 2009 said their is a fine for each toy on the shelf with a false patent number. Liability went from several hundred dollars to several million dollars.

If there is a court case and the plaintiff wins, they split the money with the Government. Three cases in Pittsburgh PA were settled and two have been dismissed. The lawsuits that were settled in favor of the companies, at least one is under appeal. Two have been moved to a location other than the Pittsburgh area.

Originally manufactured in Smethport PA, in the 1950’s, Wooly Willy is a metal toy you use a wand and put different face features such as a nose on a cartoon face.

In most cases, it is not citizen’s who sue, but rather, companies set up just to sue the other companies.

Wooly Willy was sued by FLFMC LLC of Mt Lebanon PA. On January 29, 2010, the company was incorporated and started to sue February 17, 2010.

Settlements usually include the money penalty which is split by the plaintiff and the Government. And the agreement that the company will stop putting bad patent numbers on its products. 

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User Comments
  1. SharifaMcFarlane

    On December 20, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I think that other companies set up private citizens to do this, like you said.

  2. Guy Hogan

    On December 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Well, I learned something new from this article.

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    On December 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    nice post

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    On December 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I really learnt a new thing from this article.

  6. giritharanj

    On December 20, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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    On December 21, 2010 at 2:20 am

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  9. PSingh1990

    On December 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Nice Share.


  10. Kankutty

    On December 22, 2010 at 10:21 am


  11. LCM Linda

    On December 24, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Something new to me. Nice share.

  12. Kaye TM

    On December 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

    great share!~

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