Santa Cruz stethoscope salesman loses...

Santa Cruz stethoscope salesman loses 3M suit

There are 11 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Dec 3, 2010, titled Santa Cruz stethoscope salesman loses 3M suit. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

A Minnesota District Court judge has ruled that a Santa Cruz man, who has been selling stethoscopes over the Internet for several years, has been infringing on the trademarks and patents of 3M, a company that is more widely known for selling Scotch tape and Post-it Notes.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Pikachuuuuuuuuuu

San Francisco, CA

#1 Dec 3, 2010
Can someone "dumb" this down for me? From what I understand this guy used the same marketing strategies as the company 3M. Can you really put a patent on a marketing strategy? If so I find that to be very unfair, specially since this article says once he received a call he changed the way he does things.
I really don't think I understood this article at all. Its better for the case if I don't get called in for Jury Duty for a trial like this (If he gets to have a jury trial)

“Take that !”

Since: Feb 08

capitola CA.

#2 Dec 3, 2010
he was selling chinese junk as quality 3m products -> LOSER!
Spalt

Santa Cruz, CA

#3 Dec 3, 2010
This started off as a small hobby for me and the big corporation is trying to put me out of business. I thought I'd get a fair shake here and she threw the book at me," Mohan said.

Beauty fades but stupid is forever. This is what I now "coin" the bug on the window syndrome. BOWS

BOWS is not good.
pbj

Watsonville, CA

#4 Dec 3, 2010
That's what you get for representing yourself dummy.

Since: May 08

United States

#5 Dec 3, 2010
So if he had started out with his website as it is now he would have BEEN untouched ? THATS A LESSON.
Huh

United States

#6 Dec 3, 2010
Only a fool or a fraud would represent himself in a court of law!
Right

San Francisco, CA

#7 Dec 3, 2010
Huh wrote:
Only a fool or a fraud would represent himself in a court of law!
Right! So hire a lawyer, and have a fool or fraud represent you for big bucks.
Right

San Francisco, CA

#8 Dec 3, 2010
Also, from the article it is not clear what was infringed. A "marketing technique"? There are some companies that have patented (or attempted to patent) a method of doing business. This is controversial. The most prominent example might be "Google Ad Words," where a advertiser could pay Google an amount (chosen by the advertiser) for the privilege of placing ads in competition with others who wish to use the same words.

Perhaps the word "stethoscope" is a 3M trademark? I really do not know. The word "Aspirin" has become a generic term in the USA, where it was once a trademark of (I believe) Bayer, but the USA tradmark rights were lost when "Aspirin" became a generic term for that chemical. In some other countries, "Aspirin" is still a trademark, and any other manufacturer cannot cannot the product "Aspirin." (The generic term is ASA, a chemical abbreviation.)

Maybe the stethoscopes were advertised as featuring "bibblyboo" technology (I made that up), which is a 3M trademark for something or other? Or maybe the tubing is supposed to be made out of "bobblybibble" material, which is a 3M product?

Also keep in mind that in some states, but not California, it is possible to protect one's major assets from this kind of lawsuit, regardless of merits. That's why so many funky businesses are headquartered in those states.
Right Again

San Francisco, CA

#9 Dec 3, 2010
I looked in Google News for a reference to other articles about this topic.

According to Market Watch:

QUOTE
In the ruling, Judge Montgomery found that Mohan purposefully "used ... counterfeit marks in conjunction with other marks that are confusingly similar to well-known LITTMANN marks" to attract purchasers to his websites and eBay and Amazon offers, and to deceive those purchasers into buying stethoscopes they mistakenly believed were from 3M, or were in some way endorsed or approved by 3M. Despite 3M's repeated requests that he stop, Mohan not only continued ..[etc.]
END QUOTE

LITTMAN is a 3M trademark. Other 3M trademarks were mentioned in the full article.

In an unrelated news article, some online business in New York was intentionally giving poor customer service, so that folks would complain online (in blogs, etc.) Thus, the business Google rank went up, due to the numerous references (Google's computers didn't know why). This helped the business make more sales by having higher placement in search results. Finally, Google was alerted and changed its algorithm. I point this out only because potential customers might have been searching for "Littmann" stethoscope products, in this case.
Reality Check

Hayward, CA

#10 Dec 3, 2010
Pikachuuuuuuuuuu wrote:
Can someone "dumb" this down for me? From what I understand this guy used the same marketing strategies as the company 3M. Can you really put a patent on a marketing strategy? If so I find that to be very unfair, specially since this article says once he received a call he changed the way he does things.
I really don't think I understood this article at all. Its better for the case if I don't get called in for Jury Duty for a trial like this (If he gets to have a jury trial)
It's really about trademarks vs. strategy. The previous article in October had more info. For example even today on Amazon he is selling "CARDIOLOGY STETHOSCOPE + FREE 3M LITTMANN TAG "SPECIAL DEAL"-BLACK" for $23, while an actual "3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope" is $45.
Basically selling cheap crap by using the Littmann (3M's) name. IIRC earlier he was also using tags and stickers that simulated 3M products.

“Take that !”

Since: Feb 08

capitola CA.

#11 Dec 3, 2010
see i told ya! thanks reality check

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