Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 by Jim Ruttler
It is permissible to mark products with patent numbers if they are reasonably covered by those patents. However, false marking, or marking products with patent numbers that unrelated to the products, is unlawful. It is possible for any member of the public to bring a false marking suit against the alleged violater as was the case in Forest Group v. Bon Tool. Although the statute permits damages of up to $500 per offense and the fact that each offense has been interpreted to mean each separate article falsely marked, the court in this case awarded damages equal to the revenue earned from all the falsely marked products. This is can be a hefty penalty when significant sales are made, so it is important to ensure that products are not marked inacurately.