SAN JOSE, Calif. — The U.S. Patent Office has issued an office action in its re-examination of Bruce Murison’s We-Vibe patent No. 7,931,605, which rejects all of the patent claims-at-issue in the reexamination, LELO says.
According to the company, in the office action, the USPTO has rejected the We-Vibe patent based on prior art references that were not considered when the patent was first examined, including at least two prior art patents (Mitchener U.S. Patent No. 4,574,791 and Kain U.S. Patent No.5,690,603) and two prior art publications (one on a massager product called “Femipet” and one on a massager product called “Ultime”).
LELO says by rejecting all of the patent claims that Standard Innovation is arguing are infringed by LELO’s Tiani and Tiani 2 Couples’ Massagers, the office action agrees with its request that these claims are not patentable in view of the prior art.
“This office action is yet another step by the USPTO suggesting that the We-Vibe patent claims are invalid,” the company said.
The USPTO’s rejection of the We-Vibe patent follows LELO’s request for ex parte reexamination, which LELO filed on Oct. 21, 2013. On Nov. 11, 2013, the USPTO issued an order finding a “substantial question of patentability” of the We-Vibe patent.
According to LELO, Standard Innovation Corporation, the owner of the We-Vibe patent, declined to file a patent owner statement following the USPTO’s decision ordering reexamination of their patent. The USPTO thus moved forward with the reexamination, rejecting all of the patent claims for which reexamination had been requested.
Standard Innovation now has two months to file a response to the office action, addressing each of the rejections made by the patent examiner.
“Unless they can convince the patent examiner that the rejections are incorrect and the claims are each patentable over the cited references, the patent examiner will likely issue a final office action rejecting the claims,” LELO says in a statement. “At which point Standard Innovation’s options become more limited as they may be forced to appeal the patent examiner’s decision. LELO and Standard Innovation have been involved in a string of ongoing legal disputes, notably when Standard Innovation used its We-Vibe patent to block sales and imports of LELO’s couple massagers into the U.S. in January 2013 based on a ruling by the International Trade Commission.”
Standard Innovation was unavailable for comment at post time.