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No Spin Zone – “Spinners” Case Tossed on Summary Judgment

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Admittedly, this case is pretty much a run of the mill contract dispute. Rimmax ordered some �spinners� from defendant and appears to have paid for part of the order up front. Plaintiff sent defendant a supply agreement, but it was never signed. Defendant produced the spinners to the extent plaintiffs had paid, but refused to produce any more spinners unless plaintiffs paid more money. Defendant claimed that he thought the original sums paid to plaintiff were for all 54 spinners, not just the 34 produced by defendant. Judge Robinson granted summary judgment to defendant on all claims and dismissed the suit. As to the contract claim, the Court found that plaintiff brought forth insufficient evidence to show that it had paid in full for 54 sets of spinners rather than the 34 sets produced. So, the Court enforced the parties� oral agreement to the extent of the part performance but no further. The Court also ruled against plaintiffs on their breach of confidentiality and interference with contractual relations claims for lack of evidence.

So why do I find this case so interesting? I guess I�m just fascinated by spinners. The car/motorcycle stops, but the spinning rims create the illusion of continued motion. Really, how did the inventor come up with this? Perhaps it is the compete lack of utility (and concomitant high level of creativity) that has created my fascination. So I digress�

I was also intrigued by the reference in this decision to utility and design patents that plaintiffs alleged to own. After doing a search at the PTO today, I was surprised to find that Rimmax�s first utility patent on spinners was issued TODAY (dumb luck or fate?) as . They also hold several design patents. (Actually, none of these patents have been assigned to Rimmax, but instead are held by the inventors individually.) Given the allegations plaintiffs made about how defendant had stolen their intellectual property, I�ll wonder aloud whether a patent infringement suit(s) might follow in the near future?

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