Monthly Archives: February 2011

False Patent Marking: The New Gold Rush?

By Vincent J. Allen

The Federal Circuit’s Bon Tool decision in late 2009 dramatically increased the number of false patent marking cases filed last year.  Historically, the relatively obsure patent marking statute had been interpreted to allow for a penalty of up to $500 for each decision to mark an unpatented product.  Consequently, there were only a handful of false marking suits pending at any given time.  Times have changed.  The Bon Tool decision opened the flood gates for false marking claims because of the dramatic increase in potential damages to the plaintiff.  A plaintiff in a false marking suit can now recover up to $500 per item sold.  Forest Group Inc. v. Bon Tool Co., 590 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2009).