Sunday, December 27, 2009

Little companies struggling with the patent system

Jeff Starck talks about the patent application backlog in Patent wait stifles release of new products:

[David] Baker, for example, could put his thermal transformer on the market without a patent, but his competitors then could use his technology to make the same product without spending time or money for research and development as he did.

A patent in hand also would give him more credibility with entrepreneurs who fund startups like his.

"(A patent) should help us raise money because people investing in the company will have better confidence in us," said Howard Manske, chief financial officer of PDM Solar. "The patent also allows us to defend our work if someone is doing the same thing or trying to steal our technologies.

Separately, from the Courier-Press:

A jury in U.S. District Court in Cleveland has ordered Champion Laboratories to pay more than $6.5 million in damages to an Ohio firm in a patent infringement lawsuit. Champion Laboratories is a division of Evansville-based United Components.

Parker Hannifin Corp., a Cleveland-based industrial equipment manufacturer, brought the suit against Champion Laboratories in May 2007, claiming the Albion, Ill., based manufacturer willfully infringed a Parker Hannifin patent related to fuel filter technology.


Still pending against Champion Labs is a price-fixing lawsuit brought by the Florida Attorney General's Office. Attorney General Bill McCollum brought the suit against nine of the largest manufacturers of aftermarket auto filters, alleging a scheme to maximize profits by illegally fixing prices, allocating customers and eliminating price competition.

The lawsuit alleges the companies have knowingly participated in the scheme since at least 1999 at the expense of Florida consumers and governmental entities.

The defendants are Champion Laboratories Inc.; Purolator Filters NA LLC; Honeywell International Inc.; Wix Filtration Corp. LLC; Cummins Inc.; and ArvinMeritor Inc.



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