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Companies increasingly targeted in lucrative suits over expired patents (access required)

Are your numbers up to date? That's the question patent lawyers are asking corporate clients as plaintiffs nationwide continue to file dozens of lawsuits over mismarked patent numbers. The cases began piling up in 2009 after a lawsuit brought under a 1952 federal patent act tested a previously untried provision that bans companies from marking products with erroneous or expired patent numbers. The provision, at 35 U.S.C. § 292(b), gives anyone standing to sue, and violators are liable for up to $500 for each mismarked article in a product line.

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