Belmont firm sued for patent infringement

A Belmont boat repair company, which developed a fiberglass device to trap debris in stormwater, is being sued by for patent infringement.

Best Management Products of Connecticut filed the suit Monday against New England Fiberglass LLC in U.S. District Court in Concord.

Best Management said it filed the patent for the “oil and debris separator” in 2000, and New England Fiberglass’ hooded outlet covers, which are used to trap debris in a storm drain, is similar enough to infringe on the patent.

But New England Fiberglass owner Mark Richardson, the Gilford entrepreneur who is also named in the suit, said that he checked with his own patent attorney, and there is no infringement.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed such devices years ago, and now requires them. All he did was make them out of fiberglass, making them easier and cheaper to install.

“They are normally made out of cast iron and require a special equipment to install it. The piece I make only weighs seven pounds,” Richardson said.

The seven-year-old boat repair shop encompasses 1,500 square feet and only makes the devices as a sideline, selling them for an average of $230 a piece,

“It’s not like we are making millions here off of this,” said Richardson, who learned of the suit on Wednesday. “This is a perfect example of what is wrong with the U.S. patent system. You have these patent patrols that are trying to squash me because I’m a little guy and I’m new to the market.” – BOB SANDERS

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