Patients Not Patents v. Medimpex United (Dist. D.C. 2005).
Under Section 292 of the Patent Act, “[a]ny person may sue” a party that falsely marks a product as “patented” or “patent pending.” In such cases, the fine is limited to $500 per offense.
The complaint, signed by PNP’s director Jeffrey Light, alleges that Medimpex’s products have been falsely marked as “patented” and sold through various marketing channels, including a list of internet retailers.
There is little precedent on Section 292, however, in the recent Clontech case, the Federal Circuit determined that the statute requires patentees have a good faith believe that the marked article falls within the subject matter of the patent. According to the CAFC, marking must be reliable in order to permit free and fair competition and commerce. In an e-mail, Light commented that this statute provides a way of “linking patent issues to consumer protections.”