On Jan. 29, 2010 a federal jury in St. Louis handed a big win to a St. Louis company, U.S. Ring Binder L.P., when it declared invalid two patents held by China-based World Wide Stationery Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
U.S. Ring, the defendant, was sued by World Wide Stationery for patent infringement involving U.S. Ring’s Insta-Clik mechanism, which is used in three-ring binders. U.S. Ring is World Wide Stationery’s last remaining competitor. In 2008, World Wide Stationery began sending letters claiming patent infringement to companies that purchased Insta-Clik binders. By 2009, Insta-Clik binder sales had fallen by 90 percent from the previous year. In the civil suit, World Wide Stationery alleged that the Insta-Clik infringed two United States patents. U.S. Ring denied the allegations and asserted two defenses. First, the Insta-Clik mechanism did not infringe on World Wide Stationery’s patents. Second, World Wide Stationery’s patents were invalid because they did not cover new inventions. In its counterclaim, U.S. Ring asserted that World Wide Stationery made false statements to its customers about the alleged infringement. U.S. Ring sought a declaration that the patents were invalid and unenforceable.
After a two-week trial, the jury concluded that World Wide Stationery’s patents were invalid because they did not cover a new invention. U.S. Ring Binder was represented by Anthony G. Simon and Timothy E. Grochocinski of St. Louis’ The Simon Law Firm.