17 January 2011
Bow Tied Up
A quick primer can be found back in April of 2008 when there was an exchange about bow tie patents on the Ask Andy Forum seen here. These kinds of discussions go on all the time at Ask Andy. This discussion includes a reference library on bow tie patents.
In December of 2008, Stauffer sued Brooks Brothers for implying the two patents were still valid when they had expired in 1954 and 1955. Brooks Brothers has the lawsuit thrown out in May 2009 by a judge who said Stauffer suffered no damages and had no right to bring suit.
But the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reverses the ruling in August of 2010 saying anyone can bring suit for claiming a nonexistent patent. The idea being, I don't have to be in the bow tie business and suffer financial loss (the cost of redesign, etc) to be a plaintiff.
The same appeals court ruled in December of 2009 the fine for claiming an expired patent was $500 per device sold. I assume that's every bow tie since the expiration of the patent. How you add that up is another question.