International Trade Commission Judge Rules Over We-Vibe Patent Claims

Rhett Pardon

WASHINGTON — A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has ruled that sex toy manufacturer LELO Inc. infringed on Standard Innovation’s patent used for its We-Vibe line of vibrators.

The decision, released yesterday, was the result of a four-day ITC hearing held in late August over Standard Innovations' intellectual property, U.S. Patent No. 7,931,605, used with its U-shaped, couples-device vibrators.

The patent, titled “Electro-Mechanical Sexual Stimulation Device to be Worn During Intercourse,” relates to "a device for use by a female for sexual stimulation comprising an inner arm dimensioned for insertion into a vagina, to contact the wall of the vagina at or near the G-spot, an outer arm dimensioned to contact the clitoris and a resilient U-shaped member connecting the inner and outer arms."

U.S. ITC Judge Thomas Pender presided over the case and reached his decision over the validity of Standard Innovation's patent and LELO's infringement after a Section 337 investigation was launched over alleged unfair trade through patent infringement.

Pender, in his ruling, said that LELO's Tiani, Tiani 2, and Mahana models all infringed on Standard Innovation's patent.

In addition to the ITC investigation, actions for patent infringement seeking damages and other relief against LELO and other parties that sell and distribute products accused of infringement remain ongoing in Canada and the U.S.

Danny Osadca, Standard Innovation's CEO, told XBIZ on Wednesday that the ITC decision will influence judges in the separate civil suits.

"We are happy with the decision and confident that the judge's ruling will be overriding in the civil suits," said Osadca, who spoke from the ANME convention floor in Burbank, Calif. "Our position is that we have a valid patent that we must protect. The good news is that the judge gave everything we were looking for. The decision is very definitive about the infringement and was worth fighting for."

Osadca, calling the ITC decision "good for the industry," went on to say that Standard Innovation plans to vigorously pursue legal actions against those parties that attempt to market and sell products that are alleged to infringe its patents.

"Anyone who sells the product, effective today, runs the risk of severe damages, including treble damages," Osadca said.

LELO officials did not immediately respond to XBIZ for comment.