I'm not a lawyer, but I fail to see how this is for the good of the order, even if the companies have been violating the law:
Raymond E. Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar about the bow ties on display at Brooks Brothers: They were labeled with old patent numbers.
Mr. Stauffer, who calls himself a "sharp-dressed man," also happens to be a patent lawyer. He sued Brooks Brothers Inc. in federal court, claiming it broke the law by marking its adjustable bow ties with patents that expired in the 1950s.
Matthew Craig/The Wall Street Journal
He figured the retailer would have to pay a nominal amount for violating a law that bars companies from marking products with erroneous patent numbers.
A federal appellate court ruling on Tuesday breathed new life into his case by upholding his right to sue—and could pave the way for hundreds of similar suits against major companies to move forward. A separate ruling in December raised the stakes in such cases, potentially exposing product makers to huge liabilities.
But in December, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ruled that defendants could be held responsible for up to $500 per offense.