Friday, January 11, 2008

Further on patents and TASER

From CNNMoney: According to Stinger, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser filed a patent application on Dec., 5, 2005, that was erroneously designated a continuation of a Sept., 17, 1999, patent application. Tampa, Fla.-based Stinger is claiming Taser failed to mention in the 2005 filing that the Arizona company had, since at least 2000, manufactured a product embodying the inventions it was claiming in the 2005 claim.

See also:

MarketWatch observed the following:

it was noted that the United States Patent and Trademark Office reported that approximately 94% of ex-parte requests for patent re-examinations were granted by it in 2006 and that in approximately 76% of such reexaminations, the Patent Office cancels or amends patent claims. [IPBiz note: in a re-exam, the USPTO does NOT "amend" claims. The USPTO, in an Office Action, may reject claims, and the patentee may cancel or amend claims.]

Robert Gruder, Stinger Systems' CEO stated, "Regarding Taser's patent case against Stinger, as I have said in the past, I find it insulting that Taser thinks I would want to infringe on what I believe is their antiquated technology. We have spent millions of dollars developing a superior state-of- the-art technology. I think Taser appears very concerned about Stinger taking over market share by making the comments as they have. Further, we have just rolled out the S-200 projectile stun gun in mass production in October. All previous models were either beta models or small sales that have been exchanged for the finished product. How could Tom Smith, Chairman of the Board of Taser International, have any idea what our current sales pipeline is unless he is violating security regulations and is announcing insider information. Since October, Stinger Systems has hired several new sales personnel and they are all reporting to the contrary of what Mr. Smith believes. Most law enforcement agencies that Stinger personnel have called on strongly prefer the Stinger S-200 over the Taser X26. In fact, many departments currently using Tasers have expressed interest in trading them in for Stingers. In my opinion, the Stinger S-200 has many more features and costs considerably less than the Taser X26. Why would you even consider buying a Taser? Why would Mr. Smith take the time to assist Taser putting together such a long press release and why would Taser bother suing Stinger if, as he wants to falsely characterize Stinger, is "desperate" and "dire"? Stinger shouldn't be a concern to them then. It appears to me that Mr. Smith is very confused and that Taser appears to be the desperate company. History has shown that in many instances that the second mover into an industry prevails because they can improve on the mistakes of the first company."

Stinger System's, Inc. has made an ex-parte application for the reexamination of Taser International, Inc.'s United States Patent 7,234,262, and in federal case CV 07-0042-PHX-MHM, has also alleged that Taser engaged in inequitable conduct when prosecuting its application before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Federal courts may invalidate patents where applicants have engaged inequitable conduct in obtaining the patents. Inequitable conduct with respect to one patent in a family can infect all related applications and result in their invalidation as well. The U.S. Patents here involved are Taser's 7,234,262, 7,075,770 and 6,636,412 patents. [IPBiz note: a finding of inequitable conduct does NOT invalidate a patent; such finding may render the patent unenforceable (but still valid).]

Robert Gruder stated "In reading Taser's rather lengthy and vitriolic "comments" on "intellectual property" yesterday, it is my opinion that they are quite justifiably concerned about Stinger's request for re-examination of Taser's intellectual property and allegations of inequitable conduct. In responding further to Taser's comments, I wish to note also that the patent infringement case, which Taser brought against Bestex Company, Inc. and which Mr. McNulty successfully defended for Bestex, has not been appealed and no longer can be. Why on earth would Mr. McNulty, who's client was victorious in the case, file an appeal anyway? And, why falsely attack attorney McNulty personally anyway? He only offered his opinion as to the quality of Taser's patent portfolio, not its volume, and his opinion that the financial markets may be overvaluing this voluminous portfolio? Why is Taser so concerned about a man's offering his opinion? Are they worried that others may agree? Finally, public records indicate that another Taser patent, that is U.S. Patent 6,053,088, is at risk of cancellation for non-payment of maintenance fees due October 25, 2007. The Patent Office issued a reminder notice on November 11, 2007 according to public records. Is the old Tasertron company, which has not been engaged in business for years, also responsible for not paying these delinquent fees?"


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