Recently, Cindy Stafford of South Africa paid service charges to Patent Search International (PSI) of Crownsville, MD for getting the patent search information along with expert opinion on her invention of “Panty Pads.”
By Rakesh Raman
She was not satisfied with the service and the document dated September 6, 2011 that she received in return to her payment to PSI. And as an unsatisfied consumer, Ms. Stafford requested the company to refund her money of $250.00 (Two Hundred Fifty Dollars). However, PSI didn’t want to refund the money, saying that it has provided full service to Ms. Stafford.
As the dispute moved on, Ms. Stafford approached us on September 16, 2011 to take help from our RMN Community Court service.
After studying her case along with the documents that she supplied, I wrote an e-mail to Mr. Ronald E. Brown, President, Patent Search International (PSI) on September 17, 2011.
I had the following questions for Mr. Brown of PSI:
1. In your advertisement or other marketing content, do you specify the deliverables and the format of these deliverables that the consumer will get against their payment to your company? If yes, then was it informed to Ms. Stafford before accepting her money?
2. While your patent search may be valid in this case, can you elaborate on your patentability opinion based on your search for Ms. Stafford so that she could take the right steps forward to pursue her idea of the said Panty Pads?
3. If you think you cannot provide any more assistance to Ms. Stafford to satisfy her as a consumer, can you consider a refund of her money as stated above?
4. You can add any other point from your side to shed more light on this case and to clarify your standpoint.
Mr. Brown was quick to respond and gave the following reply (bold text) in his e-mail dated September 17, 2011:
“Miss Stafford contracted us to conduct a patent search on her idea and to provide her with a patentability opinion from an independent registered patent attorney. That is what we advertise and that is what we did.
Her ONLY complaint is that the legal opinion was not long enough. When an invention like hers is so obviously not patentable there is really no reason for the attorney to go on for page after page saying the same thing. That her idea is not patentable.
I have been doing patent searches for 42 years and the only time I see this type of complaint is when the inventor’s idea turns out not to be patentable.
I gave her what she contracted for in a timely and professional manner and the fact that she is not happy with the fact that her idea has already been done does not justify any amount of refund.”
Thus, the stalemate persists in this case. Let’s see what Ms. Stafford has to say in response to Mr. Brown’s reply. We, at RMN Community Court, are in the process of collecting more opinion from experts to solve this case in the most congenial way.
At the same time, we request Mr. Brown of PSI to repeat his company’s service report by adding more technical details so that Ms. Stafford is satisfied. Will he do that?
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