Customer liability for "questionable" product
Posted in the Patent / Trademark Law Forum
Since: Mar 08
#1 Dec 15, 2011
A customer of mine (we'll call them "client") purchased floor panels from my company (we'll call "TSC") that were supplied to us by another manufacturer (we'll call them "ABC"). One year later, I receive a call from "client" that they want to return these panels because they were told by another manufacturer's dealer that these panels infringe on a patent held by their manufacturer(let's call this manufacturer "Trio").
The question is this: If "Trio" is embroiled in (or the loser in) a patent infringement suit with "ABC", is it within the legal boundaries of "Trio" (or a "Trio" dealer) to oblige the our "client" to refrain from using the "ABC" materials, or does our "client" have the right to use this product as they wish, having no interest in the patent dispute, and having already invested in the product (13 months prior)?
It sounds to me like an overzealous dealer for "Trio" made their way onto a jobsite, spotted the panels in question, and dropped an erroneous threat on "client" that, if they make use of the "fraudulent" materials, may be held accountable (by proxy?) of said patent infringement.
Opinions? My customer is running scared, and I've contacted the "ABC" dealer, but I wonder ...
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