Design Patent Case Digest: McIntire v. Sunrise Specialty Company
- Tracy-Gene G. Durkin and David K.S. Cornwell
- Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
Plaintiff Bryan C. McIntire sued Sunrise Specialty Company for infringement of U.S. Design Patent No. D534,254, entitled “Toilet Bowl.” McIntire owns and operates Mac the Antique Plumber, which sells “antique plumbing fixtures, including toilet bowls.” Between 2006 and 2009, McIntire supplied toilet bowls to Sunrise, who then sold them to its own customers. Some of these toilet bowls were embodiments of McIntire’s patent, while others were not. Eventually, Sunrise sent one of McIntire’s toilet bowls to a manufacturer in China so the manufacturer could make a sample. Although Sunrise began selling toilet bowls supplied by the manufacturer instead of McIntire, in October 2010, Sunrise used the same toilet bowl picture in its catalogue that it had used when selling toilet bowls supplied by McIntire. McIntire alleged that these toilet bowls infringed his patent.
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