Lilbuddy Awaiting Patent
Kent Mayhugh says it all comes down to some misrouted paperwork. The 46-year old Mayhugh is owner of Lilbuddy, a tool that can be used by one technician to set a windshield that usually requires two techs. He says the Patent Office misplaced his paperwork when he originally filed for a patent in September 2004.
"The Patent Office assigned it to the wrong patent examiner," said Mayhugh in an interview on May 17. "Our paperwork got stuck there until our lawyer traced it," he adds, "but we should have the patent very soon."
Mayhugh was unhappy that other companies, including AEGIS Tools, may have been planning to display a tool similar to his at the trade show in Tucson last week. "AEGIS bought tools from us and then they filed for a patent," he said adding that he had asked a Court to grant an injunction to keep AEGIS and other auto glass tool distributors such as Pilkington, PPG, C.R. Laurence, Equalizer, Technoglass and Sommer & Maca, from selling the tool at the National Auto Glass Conference. The judge in the case filed in Madison, Wisconsin, refused to issue any injunction against AEGIS because there was no patent number issued yet.
"It's Kent's invention, he developed it," said Lisa Deuster, regional sales manager for Lilbuddy. "It's really quite revolutionary. Anyone who agrees not to distribute the AEGIS product will be removed from the suit. CRL, Sommer & Maca and Equalizer told our attorney that they will not sell it and we have agreed to remove them from the suit. We don't know what PPG or Pilkington are going to do yet," she said.
Those who have seen both say there are significant differences between the two products, a contention with which Mayhugh strongly disagrees. When asked if any patents are currently on file, Mayhugh answered no, but said they should be soon.
"The judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order saying the Court sees no likelihood that they would prevail on this matter," said Robert Birkhauser, president of AEGIS Tools. "The judge denied their claim. That's where we sit right now. The broader case is still pending and I can't comment further, though I'd like to, but can't because it is before the courts."
Mayhugh may have bigger problems on his hands. Indeed this reporter's interview with him took place at the trade show while a group of three Japanese visitors to the trade show were photographing his product extensively, close-ups and all. The photographers even added their own tape measure to the pictures. "It's okay," said Mayhugh, looking over at the flash of the photographers around his product, "we have patent protection."
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