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Legal Question:

beveragebutler's Avatar

We are selling our product, but only online and regionally.  We had a good customer stop ordering so I called them.  They said they thought we sold our patent to company X a year ago.  They asked company X and were told that they had purchased it from us. Our customer is placing a nice order now.  I looked at their line and they are not infringing on our patent, but carry similar products, not with our advantages.  By lying, they have stolen business from us.  Does anyone know if we have any recourse?  Our product has a feature that makes us much more desirable in several areas.

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ring-go's Avatargold

This is not legal advice, but no...it sounds like all you have is hearsay and ultimately the purchase was the buyers choice...sorry that they did not benefit from your better product.  

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en1501's Avatar

No recourse.  If lawmakers (politicians) made lying a crime, the prisons would be packed with politicians.  It would be like banning snowflakes in Vale, CO.  If the lie happens to fit into a comfortable narrative, (Yeah, we bought that patent. or Do this, save the planet.), the lie will bypass the "critical thinking" portion of the brain.   

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beveragebutler's Avatar

Thank you both.  It is frustrating, but you are right.  If lying were a crime, we would probably ALL be in jail at sometime in our life.  I appreciate your time.  AND we do have our customer back.  

Adam W.
Michael Heagerty
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allig's Avatarg8_badge

It does sound like your customer has a basis to file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Agency, though.  The customer can initiate a claim of deceptive business practices against them.  If it's just one reported instance, it probably won't go anywhere, but the other company will likely be notified that it's been reported to the CPA at least.  But that's up to your customer, and putting that bug in their ear may be ethically questionable on your end.

Michael Heagerty
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williamj's Avatar

If company X tells customers that they purchased your patent and didn't...  Doesn't that constitute fraud on behalf of company X?

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vitaminguy's Avatargold

Making false claims about patents and patent ownership is a violation of federal regs. There are plenty of opportunistic lawyers who would have a field day with such a case. I don't particularly care to associate with that kind of lawyer. But I have successfully defined against them.  You would have to have some hard evidence, such as advertisements or marketing literature and it would have to have reached many people or have generated a lot of money to be worth their while . But they are out there . 

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kimmyk's Avatargold

Perhaps you could report it to the Better Business Bureau.  Have some friends go to their shop undercover and randomly and see what they're saying about their products.  They can always post reviews online if they find something bad going on.

Hope you get it resolved soon.

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sunto's Avatar

I have screen shot evidence of a company that has stated patented on a product I used to sell them.  All I can do is just keep bagging evidence on this company. And then with a bit of luck payback.

Lots of lies out there I like to play it straight and stick to the rules when others just blatantly ignore them. I just wish some company buyers had a bit more integrity.

Good luck with your product sales .....Jan

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freyinnovations's Avatar

You are S.O.L.

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