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Outcome of patent dispute could determine what tools we will buy

Connecticut-based Stanley Black & Decker has found itself involved in an intellectual property dispute that could prevent the company from distributing or selling certain screw drivers and other devices in the United States. The patent infringement lawsuit was filed by STMicroelectronics (STM) with the U.S. International Trade Commission against a company called InvenSense Inc (IVN).

STM claims to have created a certain wireless equipment technology that IVN infringed upon and has sold to a number of its customers (including Black & Decker). However, IVN denies any wrongdoing and asserts that it was using this technology before STM had ever marketed it. IVN's claims already placed on hold an earlier civil lawsuit while the U.S. Patent and Trademark office reviews patents filed by STM concerning this technology.

The end result of which party or parties prevail in this dispute could mean several million dollars of profits for one company versus another. Since this technology apparently has been integrated in so many different applications, it could also mean that a variety of products that a number of manufacturers have marketed will be pulled off of the shelf.

These disputes require handling by experienced business and commercial law attorneys that understand intellectual property disputes, and can understand the technology that goes into the creation of these products. Attorneys in these matters will require more than a law degree.

Attorneys will also need to have knowledge of engineering, manufacturing, design and business practices, and also understand and communicate how patents are prepared, organized and filed.

Source: Bloomberg, "STMicroelectronics, Zoll, Costco: Intellectual Property," by Victoria Sind-Flor, March 13, 2013

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