Voice of IP
Clause 8
How the PTAB Killed Molly Metz’s Patents

How the PTAB Killed Molly Metz’s Patents

Five-time world jump rope champion Molly Metz and her husband Dirk Tomsin talk about the highs and lows of innovation, entrepreneurship, and relying on America’s patent system.  A serious car accident spurred Molly to invent a new type of jump rope that revolutionized jump roping and the use of jump roping for CrossFit.  Thanks to patents that were awarded to her by the US Patent Office (USPTO) for the invention, Molly’s company – JumpNrope – started making the jump ropes completely in America and licensing the patents to various fitness companies that eagerly relied on her jump roping technology.  

It should’ve been the perfect story that the USPTO could tout about how America’s economy benefited from a woman inventor taking advantage of the patent system.  Instead, Rogue Fitness - the largest fitness distributor for CrossFit –challenged Molly’s patents at the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  Molly and Dirk are now dealing with the aftermath of that and fighting for a better future for other inventors.  

On this episode, Molly, Dirk, and Eli discuss:

  • Molly’s start in the world of jump roping in Boulder, Colorado

  • How a car accident spurred her to invent 

  • Decision to file patent applications 

  • Examination process at the USPTO & rewarding feeling of obtaining a patent

  • Decision to manufacture the jump ropes in Colorado and not China

  • Experience of successfully licensing the patented jump rope technology to other companies 

  • When the patent system worked for Molly

  • Rogue Fitness’ initial interest in selling Molly’s jump rope, licensing negotiations, and decision to infringe

  • Negative impact of Rogue Fitness’ refusal to license the technology

  • Working with patent litigation attorneys to enforce patents

  • Rogue Fitness challenging the patents at the PTAB based on two patents from 1978 and 1979

  • Molly and Dirk’s experience with the subsequent PTAB proceedings and Federal Circuit appeal

  • Prof. Dennis Crouch’s analysis of the PTAB decision

  • Supreme Court petition to secure pre-cancellation damages

  • USPTO’s effort to increase number of women patentees 

  • Advice for other women and small business inventors

Voice of IP
Clause 8
The podcast listened to by sophisticated in-house counsel, judges from around the world, IP policymakers, senior USPTO officials, and top patent dealmakers and attorneys to stay ahead of the curve by understanding the personalities and forces shaping IP.
Eli Mazour’s love of talking to people – along with his belief in the importance of America’s patent system – led him to start Clause 8. Clause 8 features conversations that provide strategic insights about how to best deal with various patent-related issues. Some of the previous guests include America’s great innovators, federal judges, USPTO Directors, top IP staffers on Capitol Hill, and Carole Baskin’s attorney from the documentary Tiger King.
It's the #1 podcast about IP and is in the top 2.5% of all podcasts according to Listen Score. The podcast has been covered and cited in many publications, including Bloomberg, Law360, Courthouse News Service, Above the Law, IAM, and Original Jurisdiction.