Can Patent Related Press Releases Be a Tortious Act?
A story of such potential liability is now playing out in Taser International v. Stinger, (Case No. 2:09-cv-289 (D. Nev.)). Taser, the developer of the TASER weapon for use by law enforcement, originally sued Stinger Systems for selling devices that infringed a number of Taser patents. In the course of the action, however, Stinger issued a series of press releases regarding its patent dispute with Taser, among them a press release reporting on a parallel reexamination proceeding. In a second action, Taser accuses Stinger, Stinger’s CEO and Stinger’s attorney of various business torts, all centering on allegations that Stinger, ita CEO and its attorney issued misleading press releases, damaging Taser’s reputation and stock price. According to Taser, one press release issued by Stinger in May 2007, caused its stock price to drop $40,000,000.