TASER Responds to Phazzer Patent Issues
TASER International today announced its response to Phazzer concerning patent status. In March 2016, TASER International filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Case No. 6:16-cv-00366-PGB-KRS) against Florida-based Phazzer Electronics, Inc. for patent infringement, trademark infringement and false advertising/unfair competition relating to TASER’s conducted electrical weapon (CEW) products. TASER’s patent at issue in the litigation (U.S. Patent No. 7,234,262) was issued in June 2007 and relates to the recording and storage of information regarding the weapon’s past use, such as the date and time of each trigger pull and the duration of the electrical stimulus. Phazzer sells a CEW marketed as the “Enforcer” that TASER contends infringes this patent.
As is typical in such litigation, on June 25, 2016, Phazzer challenged the validity of TASER’s patent in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by filing a reexamination petition. On November 8, 2016, the patent examiner accepted Phazzer's argument that the patent was invalid due to obviousness in light of a combination of two other patents. Accordingly, the USPTO initiated an Office Action, to which TASER will now have an opportunity to respond and establish why the patent is valid over the cited prior art. TASER’s response will be filed in January 2017. The patent office may then decide to reinstate the patent or reissue it with amended claims. In the meantime, TASER’s infringement claim against Phazzer is proceeding in the district court.
“We are confident that once the patent examiners consider our response that the patent will be reinstated,” said Doug Klint, TASER’s General Counsel. “In any event, should the USPTO maintain its present claim rejection, the only consequence will be the dismissal of TASER’s infringement claim against Phazzer in the litigation, which simply maintains the status quo,” Klint said. “TASER’s CEW product sales should not be affected.”