First, the government bailed out the auto industry. Now, it’s being asked to protect the domestic sex toy industry. (In the Matter of Certain Devices Having Elastomeric Gel and Components Thereof)
Interactive Life Forms LLC is the owner of two patents that cover, inter alia, a device known as the “Fleshlight.” This is an adult toy for men which has “an exterior with the appearance of an ordinary device found in a public environment such as a flashlight” and which holds an elastomeric gel insert that simulates a “body orifice.” The two patents are entitled, “Device for discreet sperm collection.”
ILF claims that more than two dozen foreign companies are violating U.S. law by importing adult toys which infringe the patents. Among these accused infringers is Shenzhen Shaki Industrial Co. which boasts that it is China’s “first registered sex toy manufacturer.”¹
ILF has over 130 employees in the U.S. It operates a factory in Texas and a “research and development facility” – we are not kidding – in New Mexico. ILF claims to have invested over $650,000 in developing the Fleshlight and two related products: Sex-in-a-Can and Jack’s Soda.
ILF has filed a complaint in the International Trade Commission, the I.T.C., seeking an order barring these unscrupulous foreigners from importing the allegedly infringing sex toys. Clearly, the jobs of highly skilled American workers, including numerous experienced sex toy developers, are at risk. The developers might be able to get jobs at Mattel, re-designing Barbie dolls, but this is far from certain. Moreover, think of the blow to American industrial pride. ILF is a “homegrown” company. Do we want to see lonely American men forced to play with imported, i.e. un-American sex toys?
Well, with American jobs at stake, we can count on the government. The I.T.C. has launched an investigation into this matter. We wonder if the investigators are male.
¹ China is obviously a very sophisticated country; in the U.S. we only register sex offenders and no one boasts about that.