Brooks Brothers Inc. may face legal claims that the apparel chain marked its bow ties with expired patent numbers, says a Bloomberg report.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said that lawyer Raymond Stauffer can pursue his claim against the New York-based clothier. It’s illegal to mislabel products with the wrong patent numbers, and the U.S. lets individuals sue on the government’s behalf and keep half of any penalties, which can be as much as $500 for each item.
Brooks Brothers got Stauffer’s lawsuit thrown out in May 2009 by a judge who said the New Jersey lawyer didn’t have the standing to bring the case, the report says.
The lawsuits largely started after the Federal Circuit, in a case in December, said companies can face a penalty of as much as $500 for each item falsely marked as under patent protection.