ST. LOUIS (CN) – Two giant companies have been sued in a continuing, recent trend of litigation alleging damages from marking products with expired patents. A woman charged Kraft Foods and Georgia-Pacific with similar but separate federal complaints on Tuesday.
Belinda Brown claims Kraft and Georgia-Pacific gain unfair advantage over their competition by falsely claiming patent protection for Kool-Aid and Country Time Lemonade (Kraft) and Quilted Northern toilet paper (Georgia-Pacific).
“Defendant knows or reasonably should have known that the purpose of marking a product with a patent number is to put competitors and the public at large on notice of exclusive and legally enforceable rights with respect to that product,” the complaints state.
“Defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the articles it marked and continues to mark … are not covered by the expired patents marked on its product because expired patents have no monopoly rights.”
Brown claims use of the expired patents “has injured the sovereign interests of the United States as well as the public interest, and has discouraged competition and innovation in competing products.”
Brown seeks an injunction, a $500 fine for each false-marketing offense and an accounting. She is represented by Aaron Zigler with Korein Tillery.