Orvis and expired patents.

Notice the parenthetical "now expired"

Via midcurrent comes news of an apparently frivolous lawsuit brought against Orivs by a Texas law firm concerning their US Patent No. 150,883.

The interesting thing to note is that if you go to the Orvis “Made In America Collection” the main page still has the offending graphic in place, but is now modified with the parenthetical, “now expired.” Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve argued with one for my entire life, my dad. If its one lesson I’ve learned in all my discussions with him, many of them about patents and copyrights and other stuff neither of us know enough about, it’s that if you really think you’re not guilty then don’t change a thing about what you’re doing, anything else is just a foot hold for proof of guilt.

So, I can see why they thought it might be a good idea to clarify things immediately, but by clarifying aren’t they somehow admitting that people might be confused by it? Doesn’t that just open the door for a settlement, and isn’t that exactly what these bottom feeding law firms are looking for in all this frivolity?

A drawing from the actual patent by C.F. Orvis.

From the article…

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court District of Vermont, the AFPU claims Orvis violated the “Fair Market Statute” when it used a graphic of “U.S. Patent 150,833” otherwise called the ‘833 patent, in its catalogue where consumers can purchase Orvis’ many fly-fishing and outdoor sports-related products.

The complaint explains that the patent in question was issued to Charles F. Orvis, the founder of the Orvis company, in 1874. It expired May 12, 1891, nearly 120 years ago. The patent was for a specific type of fly reel, which Orvis designed.

In its complaint, AFPU describes itself as a company established by the Texas law firm F&P,LLP — which also represents it in court — with the mission of representing the public by encouraging “… the fair use of the patent system, and deter abuse of the patent system, which harms the public welfare and stifles competition.”

AFPU, through attorney Reese McKnight, alleges that by having a picture of the ‘833 patent in its advertisements, Orvis is misleading the public into thinking the patent is still valid.

McKnight said the alleged behavior stifles innovation and competition in the marketplace, and causes other individuals and companies money when they research the patent to check its authenticity.


2 thoughts on “Orvis and expired patents.

  1. Pingback: Orvis and expired patents. « The Fiddle and Creel | Legal and Law Info

  2. Pingback: Orvis and expired patents. « The Fiddle and Creel

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