A Washington lawyer’s novel strategy of suing companies for allegedly falsely marking products as patented has raised legal questions about whether noncompetitors should have standing to bring such cases to recover fines for themselves and the government.

Matthew A. Pequignot, a partner at Washington-based intellectual property boutique Pequignot + Myers, filed two false patent marking lawsuits as a plaintiff in the Eastern District of Virginia. One of those was against disposable product maker Solo Cup Co. last September, and the other against Gillette and its parent company, The Procter & Gamble Co., in January. Pequignot v. Gillette, No. 1:08-cv-00049 (E.D. Va.); Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co., No. 1:07-cv-00897 (E.D. Va.).

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