Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patents, Deception & Morality

Juicy Whip Soda Fountain, fake drink on top

My intellectual property class is the most interesting so far this semester. In the trade secrets segment, we dealt with schemers and liars having little or not scruples at all. One case involved a pair of brothers hired by a company to fly over a DuPont manufacturing plant under construction. While the site was under construction, the place where the trade secret was located was exposed until the roof was placed overhead. The brothers then took photos so they could glean information of what the trade secret was in the manufacturing process. Even though the brothers did not break any laws, the judge put the hammer down on the sneaky rascals.

Another case I liked was a patent case against a beverage vendor. The drink dispenser looked like a regular soda dispenser except on top of the stand was several containers for the different flavors of soda sold of several different colors. The only problem was that the juice on top was 'fake'. The real stuff was below the counter and mixed underneath like a regular Coke or Pepsi is. The 'fake juice' is for show, visual appeal.

The case went something like this.

Opponent: The fake juice on top is deceptive and misleading.

Juicy Whip: Um, dur.

Opponent: You can't do that. The courts have said so.

Juicy Whip: We can't 'deceive'? Have you heard of cubic zirconia or pleather?

Court: Juicy Whip is right. The deception is part of the appeal. Besides, we are not the morality police. Juicy Whip gets the patent. The end.

The case is Juicy Whip, Inc. v. Orange Bang, Inc.


  1. but i wanted juice. :(

  2. You took time to read a blog entry about a patent infringment case?

    That snowstorm must be making you bored and stir-crazy!:=)