Last month federal district judge Claude Hilton dismissed an antitrust suit filed against rival makers of table saws by SawStop, a company that has patented a table saw with innovative safety features. “Hilton’s ruling, while a blow to SawStop, has no legal bearing on the company’s efforts to get the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require the use of their technology on most table saws sold in the U.S.” Trial lawyers at Boies Schiller and elsewhere have also filed numerous product liability suits against makers of conventional saws; many saw users prefer to go on buying conventional saws, which are much less expensive, in preference to using the SawStop system [David Frane, Tools of the Trade, background; earlier]
Federal false-advertising law allows competitors (not just consumers claiming loss) to sue companies over allegedly false or unsubstantiated ad claims. Long-established result that will surprise only newcomers: big guys use the law to beat up little guys, as well as each other. “In March, a Supreme Court ruling widened the range of businesses that can sue other companies for false advertising under the federal Lanham Act, by allowing businesses that aren’t direct competitors to pursue claims.” [WSJ via Lexology]
“I’m sure you realize the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say: ‘We will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money.'” [TheVerge.com]
More from Coyote: “left unsaid is how they would jack up their prices when at least two other companies (Bing, Mapquest) also provide mapping services online for free.” But note that the French case arose not from Google’s furnishing of its free map service to individual end customers, but from its furnishing of its map API to businesses that typically adapt it for use in their own sites; as commenters at BoingBoing and Reddit as well as news reports point out, Google has indeed introduced fees for its largest business users of this type (which has caused some of them to adapt by switching from Google’s API to OpenStreetMap, a free wiki-based map service).
Public-spirited litigants Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Company and C & H Sugar Company, Inc., have filed a lawsuit charging corn refiners with false advertising in their recent campaign to relabel high-fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar.” “The sugar producers seek an injunction to end the advertising campaign and also seek damages, including compensation for corrective advertising.” [PR Newswire]
Ocean Spray sues a competitor over its alleged involvement in a social media campaign. [Charlie Mead, AmLaw Daily]
Or at least it wasn’t for one video firm [Paul Alan Levy, Consumer Law and Policy]
The New York Times doesn’t have statistics, but its reporter thinks Lanham Act litigation (filed by companies against their competitors over allegedly misleading advertising) is on the rise these days.
“The American Booksellers Association loves people who buy books. It loves them so much that it wants to protect them from wicked retailers who sell popular titles at affordable prices.” [Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe] More: Mark Perry.
Related: antitrust laws mostly “used today by one group of competitors to try to hamstring another competitor in their business” [Coyote on IBM mainframe investigation]