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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

Seeing "Both Sides" Of Product Safety-As Injury Lawyer and Inventor/Designer of Products

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I don’t know how many product liability injury lawyers also are inventors in the United States, but I suspect it’s a tiny number, or maybe just me alone. Beginning in 1999, I filed my first patent application for a new type of folding wheel axle for typical wagons and carts which allows them to fold flat. Since that time I have filed for and been granted 12 United States patents, and have several international patents pending. The patents cover fold flat products such as wagons, carts, compact wheelbarrows, fold flat jogging strollers, and children’s fun cars. Several of these products will be sold in the United States in the next year.

I have negotiated several licensing agreements, and have been involved in the intricate design details of the fold flat carts, wagons, jogging strollers, and wheelbarrows. Yes, it has made for some strange design discussions where I have explained that a part needed to be changed because I was worried that it was unsafe and could be the basis for a defect. I believe that the companies involved in developing several of my products have taken me pretty seriously when I give specific examples of how XYZ company was sued in the past for a defect, and how a plaintiff’s injury lawyer would frame a particular issue. “I’ve seen the world from both sides now,” is a famous line from an early Joni MItchell song entitled “Both Sides.” Well, it is also true for me, as I can truly appreciate what goes into designing and testing a product, as well as when a company should be sued if it sells a defectively designed product causing serious personal injury, as well. As a matter of fact, I have considered arguments I actually made in product liability cases, while I was struggling over how a part should be tested or designed.

My design development company is called Pancake Wheel, and several of my products are being sold online by Compact Solutions .