Sukumar v. Nautilus, Inc., No. 14-1205 (Fed. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
In 1994, Sukumar began caring for his aging father and noticed that rehabilitation fitness machines used by his father did not adequately suit frail seniors. To learn more about rehabilitation for seniors, he attended trade shows where he met Nautilus representatives. In 1998-1999, Sukumar ordered Nautilus machines and asked for modifications to meet elderly users’ needs. When Nautilus delivered the custom fitness machines, Sukumar was dissatisfied and filed a breach of contract action. In 2004, Sukumar founded Southern California Stroke Rehabilitation Associates (SCSRA) to operate senior rehabilitation facilities in which Sukumar would use modified Nautilus fitness machines. SCSRA has acquired over 100 Nautilus fitness machines and, according to Sukumar, has twice attempted to negotiate a patent license from Nautilus. As of 2010, when Sukumar filed a false marking claim, 35 U.S.C. 292(b), SCSRA had no business plan, no employees, no office space, and no prototype designs. The district court found that many of the patents marked on six Nautilus machines did not cover the machines, but concluded that Sukumar had not suffered “competitive injury” necessary to have standing to assert a claim. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Sukumar had not taken sufficient action to enter the market for fitness machines.