Well, here is yet another example of the reasons we need true patent reform in the United States. There is no logical reason a company should be able to patent a spectrum rather than a specific wavelength (which I also find slightly ridiculous) of color.
Our minds are with companies like Samsung and Sparkfun who can be so severely bitten by patent trolls over subtle commonalities.
While I would whole heartily agree that patent reform can’t come fast enough in the US (but it never will, so don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen), this is a trademark infringement case, and really a simple fix, ship them back, sell them in China and change the case color for future shipments (a nice Sparkfun Red perhaps).
I suspect something happened which Fluke felt they needed to act on as Sparkfun has been selling these for a long time and helping to create future customers for Fluke, so I’d like to hear Fluke’s side of the story as I think there is more to this then Fluke not playing nicely in the sandbox.
NEWS FLASH, here is Flukes response
I figured Fluke was a higher class company then how Sparkfun’s initial post painted them.
Trademark law is not like copyright or patent law. In order to keep a trademark, you MUST defend it. You CANNOT let some things slide because you like the company, or whatever. Fluke, in order to keep their trademark, HAD to defend it.
The Govt agency were just enacting what Fluke asked them to though. Sure, Fluke didn’t have a person on the dock saying “nope, yellow, hold them” but they may as well have. If Fluke didn’t request this blockade, then it wouldn’t have been enforced. (and I’m not saying I don’t like Fluke or SparkFun, they’re both great at what they do… just want to point out the controls are only there to do what companies ask them to)
I’ve read that article before as well. I think Fluke is right in this case. It does look like Fluke meters. The design patent are there so that consumers don’t get confused and buy the wrong product.
I think SparkFun should change their meter design, and go with their Sparkfun Red. I also think that they should reach out to Fluke for that design. Perhaps they could do something for them they way they did AmProbe.