Everything Baseball Ltd., LLC v. Team Athletic Goods, Inc., No 05 C 5526, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 2007) (Pallmeyer, J.).
Judge Pallmeyer denied defendant Team Athletic Goods, Inc.’s (“TAG”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of standing. The inventors of the patent at issue, for baseball chest protectors, assigned their rights in the patent to Everything Baseball Ltd. (“EB Ltd.”), but the correct corporate name was Everything Baseball Limited, LLC (“EBL LLC”). Plaintiffs argued that because EBL LLC was not the assignee when it filed suit, the Court should dismiss the case. But the Court held that the assignment to EB Ltd. was a clerical error and that the parties’ clear intent was to assign to plaintiff EBL LLC. The Illinois’s records show that while EBL LLC was incorporated, EB Ltd. never existed. Furthermore, some months after TAG identified the error, EBL LLC amended their assignment with the PTO. But the Court did note that the amended assignment could not create standing in this suit. The Federal Circuit case law is clear that where standing does not exist when the suit is filed, it cannot be corrected during the suit. The difference in this case was the Court’s ruling that the intent of the assignment agreement was to assign the patent in suit to EBL LLC, not EB Ltd., which did not exist.