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US: Casio sends cease-and-desist letter to "harvesting" hobbyist

Casio’s law firm sent a cease-and-desist letter to a laser hobbyist who was selling laser diodes harvested from a Casio video projector. The letter objected to the removal of the diodes (“disassembly is prohibited”) and to the use of Casio’s name in the eBay auction.

The hobbyist indicated “I will comply since the things don’t really bring me much money.”

A link to the hobbyist’s post and the text of the letter are after the break (click the “Read More...” link below). For background information on the Casio diode harvesting, see the June 2010 alert.
The following is the text of a letter sent to a laser hobbyist. The letter was posted October 27 2010 in a forum thread at PhotonLexicon.com entitled “Threat letter from casio’s attorney”. Some text in the letter was redacted by the hobbyist, and is indicated by ellipses (...).

a professional corporation

Christopher M. Taylor
[phone and address removed by LaserPointerSafety.com]

October ... 2010

RE: ...

Dear: ...

Thank you for writing.

Judging from the representations you have made online in connection with item ..., the laser diode you are selling was obtained by harvesting a CASIO projector. This is both unauthorized and potentially unsafe.

The 445 nm blue lasers contained in CASIO projectors are Class IV laser products, the sale of which is restricted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Compliance of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, as described in 21 CFR
§ 1040.10.

Unshielded lasers can be dangerous. This obviously unintended misuse and alteration of a CASIO projector component circumvents the safety features contained in the CASIO projector and has the potential to create a substantial risk of fire and injury to users and targets alike. Indeed it is precisely for this reason that the FDA restricts sale of such Class IV lasers, and Casio provides a written warning to all purchasers of its relevant projectors that disassembly is potentially dangerous and prohibited.

Furthermore, the 445 nm blue lasers contained within the CASIO projector are not made by Casio -- they are third party products and your use of the CASIO trademark in connection with their promotion raises the likelihood of confusion in the market by creating a false suggestion of affiliation or sponsorship. Your sale is, therefore, an open and notorious infringement of Casio's valuable intellectual property in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S. C. 1051
§ et seq, and common law. This infringement has harmed, and continues to harm, Casio. It must stop.

We, therefore, demand that you immediately cease and desist from the (i) sale of any laser product derived from a CASIO projector, and (ii) use of any CASIO-related trademark in connection with the sale of laser products.

Your failure to notify us by November 8 that you intend to comply with the foregoing will require Casio to consider the full range of its legal option.


Christopher Taylor