Plumbing and Mechanical

Truebro Wins Patent Infringement Lawsuit

April 1, 2004
Truebro Inc. on March 9, 2004, won its patent infringement and false advertising lawsuit against Plumberex Specialty Products Inc. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Swartwood III, of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, awarded Truebro $2.1 million for damages and attorneys' fees and expenses.

The judge ruled that Plumberex “deliberately copied” Truebro's Lav-Guard® product and ordered Plumberex to immediately stop the sale of its Pro-2000 products and any other products infringing Truebro's patents. All together, the court found that Plumberex infringed on 32 claims of six patents in the Truebro patent estate.

On the false advertising claim, Swartwood prohibited Plumberex and Futura Sales Inc., which is also named in the suit, as well as others working with them from advertising that Plumberex's original Handy-Shield and Pro-2000 products are ADA-compliant, as long as the company advertises the use of and/or supplies cable ties with such products.

The court found other instances of false advertising, and ordered Plumberex to immediately stop such advertising and to inform its distributors and sales representatives by letter of the specific false claims published in its literature.

Truebro brought action against Plumberex immediately after the introduction of its Pro-2000 product in early 2000, stating that the product was a knock-off of the Lav-Guard and infringed on Truebro's patents. Plumberex responded with a counterclaim, claiming that Truebro infringed on Plumberex's patents and copyrights. The judge rejected both claims.

The court ruled that Truebro's patents were valid, and doubled the damages against Plumberex for willful patent infringement. Plumberex indicated it would appeal the decision.