A reader sent this email to me a few days ago. This is letter from Spectrum Labs the makers of Urine Luck and Quick Fix products that was sent to their retailers.
Legal Action Notification August 3, 2009
Dear Valued Retailer,
We wanted to make you aware of legal actions Spectrum Labs is in the process of taking against all synthetic urine manufacturers who are potentially violating our patent. As you know, Spectrum Labs Quick Fix synthetic urine is the only patented product of its kind in the market. Other companies have brought similar products into the marketplace. It has come to our attention that these products potentially violate Spectrum’s U.S. Patent No. 7,192,776.
According to our attorneys, patent laws are very clear on protecting the patent holder against whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States, or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor. 35 U.S.C. ‘ 271. Violators, whether the manufacture or seller, can be held legally and financially responsible for any losses to Spectrum due to infringement.
While we do not wish to place any financial hardships on our customers, we must take action to protect our patented products. Due to the number of companies flooding the market with inferior products, knock-offs and potentially infringing formulas we have no option but to consider moving forward with legal action.
To avoid potential liability, please avoid offering for sale, or selling, any potentially infringing products. If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact us.
P.O. Box 8401 ▪ Cincinnati, Ohio 45208 ▪ (513) 321-7747 ▪ Fax (513) 979-5392
This letter is designed to impress upon their retailers several different points. First it gives the impression that Spectrum Labs is the sole patentable source for synthetic urine (nothing can be further from the truth). Second that retailers should not carry other brands of synthetic urine or else they risk legal action and possible financial loss. I find it interesting how Spectrum purposely left out the names of the offending manufacturers potentially violating their patents. Would it not be prudent for Spectrum Labs to do this so retailers can take action if needed rather than leaving everything be shrouded in mystery?
My interpretation of this letter is mainly an implied threat toward their retailers to not use competing products. Spectrum labs was a late player in the synthetic urine market. Synthetic urine is a much more effective method than detox drinks and additives. Drinks fail all the time and there is always a possibility that the labs can detect additives. Spectrum Labs late entry in the synthetic urine market was because they knew that synthetic urine would eventually cannibalize the sales of their existing product lines so they delayed entry in that particular market. But with the Internet consumers getting educated realizing there is no thing such as a ‘Magic Drink’ and putting an additive in one’s urine is too risky. Going the synthetic urine route was a no brainier. This change in the marketplace and consumers acquiring more education with passing drug tests forced Spectrum Labs late entry into the synthetic urine market.
I have had several experts review the patent number mentioned in the letter. It appears to mainly deal with a manufacturing method rather than synthetic urine itself. The patent was applied for in 2004 and synthetic urine was being sold in the back of High Times Magazine back in the late 1990s. So for Spectrum to give the impression that they are the sole legal source for synthetic urine is basically a bogus impression. If they are planning to do some legal maneuvering to make it look like they are the sole source for Synthetic urine it will be a huge uphill battle for them. Whether they are setting the stage for future legal action remains to be seen.
However, on the other side. Spectrum Labs has been known to file frivolous patent infringement claims. One such case is a patent infringement claim against Health Tech the makes of the Clear Choice products. Spectrum Labs claimed that Clear Choice violated their patent on their Urine Luck additive product. Health Tech was found not guilty of such action and to this day continues to carry additive products. Whatever Spectrum’ Labs’ motivations are I find this letter to their customers irresponsible and they should provide a list of products that are claiming to violate their patent.