Patent inventorship rights leads to federal case

By Audrey Holsclaw | May 22, 2008

VIENNA – A Kansas corporation is seeking punitive and compensatory damages following the unauthorized use of its patent.

Millennium Marketing Group and Am-Rad Inc. and its owners Orin Johnson and Gary Jones of Overland Park, Kansas, are seeking damages after a licensing agreement with Samuel Ross, II, resulted in his financial benefit.

In 1995, Jones and Johnson developed a flash-free radiant heat welding process that they patented under two patents, whose ownership they assigned to Am-Rad.

In 2004, Am-Rad began discussions with Simonton Building Products and Holdings, owned by Ross and a West Virginia corporation, to seek licensing protection, marketing consultation, and procurement of venture capital. In April of that year, Millennium Marketing Group, acting on behalf of Am-Rad, entered into a non-disclosure and non-use agreement with Ross to protect any and all confidential and proprietary or trade secret information exchanged. On November 21, 2004, Ross and Am-Rad entered into a license agreement included the terms for a future joint venture for the marketing of the Am-Rad flash-free welding process and to develop more technology to exploit or enhance the welding process.

On December 30, 2005, and December 16, 2006, Ross caused Simonton to file patents involving the use of the Am-Rad flash-free welding process, but neither Jones nor Johnson is named as an inventor.

Filed by Charles Crooks of the Morgantown office of Jackson Kelly and Leonard Rose, Amy Allen, and Jed Reeg of the Kansas City firm of Lathrop & Gage, the suit states that Ross's improper use of trade secret information allowed him to sell Simonton for approximately $630 million.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Johnson, Jones, Am-Rad, and Millennium Marketing Group are seeking a trial by jury to award damages including the disgorgement of profits received by Ross when he sold Simonton, punitive damages, and pre-judgment interest.

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