A judge has ruled a Coconut Creek, Fla.-based company violated the state's deceptive and unfair trade law by sending out bogus invoices to businesses.
Circuit Judge Charles Frances on Friday made that finding against Federated Institute for Patent and Trademark Registry and its president, Bernd Taubert, in a lawsuit filed by the state.
Frances will rule on damages later. Attorney General Bill McCollum's office is seeking $2.6 million in restitution for thousands of companies that paid the phony bills plus several million dollars in penalties.
The victims include such well-known companies as Sony Entertainment, Crocs shoe company and the estate of "Pippi Longstocking" author Astrid Lundgren.