Nearly every month for 14 years, Jason Throne prepared the invoices.

The amounts always ranged from $30,000 to $40,000 and were paid from Hunter Douglas, the New York-based company where Throne worked as an in-house attorney, to a firm called Patent Services Group.

He claimed the money was for patent searches, something Throne had jurisdiction over as Hunter Douglas’ in-house patent attorney.

What Hunter Douglas didn’t know – until another employee questioned the payments – was that the patent searches were never performed. Patent Services Group was nothing more than a dummy corporation Throne set up to embezzle more than $5 million from his employer, according to court documents that say he used the money to fund a lifestyle that included a waterfront home in Rockport, land in Camden and Colorado, a boat, cars and other personal property.

Throne, 54, who lives with his wife, Mary, in Rockport, has been ordered to pay back the money he swindled from Hunter Douglas from 2000 through 2014.

He agreed to the judgment last month in U.S. District Court in Colorado, where Hunter Douglas has offices and where the case was filed.


Charges against Mary Throne, who was listed in the original complaint filed in June, were dismissed because she was unaware of her husband’s conduct.

Throne has not been criminally charged. There was no answer at a number listed for Throne in Rockport.

The settlement agreement filed with the court outlines the steps Jason Throne took to bilk money from a multibillion-dollar corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of window treatments.

He was hired by Hunter Douglas in 1993 as an attorney. By 2001, he had become intellectual property general counsel for the firm, which meant he had authority over all intellectual property and patent-related matters. Hunter Douglas, which produces a wide variety of blinds, shutters and other interior design products, develops patents regularly.

The court documents state that in December 1999, Throne set up a dummy corporation called Patent Services Group. It was headquartered in Rockport but incorporated in Boulder, Colorado, where he also rented a post office box.

Beginning in 2000, Throne began submitting monthly invoices from Patent Services Group to Hunter Douglas.


In the first year, he billed $285,272. The next year, that increased to $374,068.

In 2013, the year before he was caught and fired for cause, Throne billed $476,716 on behalf of his fake company – the highest yearly total.

He prepared the invoices on his Hunter Douglas computer, then printed them and faxed them to Hunter Douglas’ accounts payable department.

Amazingly, Throne was able to continue billing from Patent Services Group for well over a decade without raising suspicion.

Hunter Douglas is a multinational corporation employing more than 17,000 people in 100 countries, according to its website. In 2013, the company had $2.3 billion in sales.

Based on the initial $125 hourly rate cited in the invoices, one person would have had to log 12 hours a day every weekday to reach the $374,068 that was paid to Patent Services Group in 2001.


James Goggin, a Portland patent attorney who is not involved with the case, said it’s common for companies to outsource patent searches but said they can be time-intensive and costly.

“You have to wonder why this company didn’t ask why it wasn’t receiving any patents,” he said.

It wasn’t until 2013 that a patent engineer at Hunter Douglas, Natalie Hatmaker, sent an email to Throne asking about the high payments to a company she had never heard of and had never seen produce any work.

Throne, according to court documents, called Hatmaker immediately and gave a vague explanation that Patent Services Group was a search service he used to “track a number of different developments throughout the organization.”

By the following June, Throne was fired and a complaint was filed in federal court.

According to that complaint, Throne created a bank account in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where he deposited the checks from Hunter Douglas to Patent Services Group. That account essentially became his personal piggy bank.


The home in Rockport, at 41 Pandion Lane, was purchased for $975,000 in 2006. It is now assessed at $1.9 million, according to town records. In addition to a deep-water dock in Rockport Harbor, the property includes a 6,800-square-foot shingle-style home on 1.4 acres. He also purchased a parcel of land in Camden and a lot in Steamboat Springs.

It’s not clear how much time the Thrones spent in Rockport. William Chapman, chair of the town’s board of the selectmen, said he had never heard of the couple or seen them around the community.

The land in Steamboat Springs was purchased for $180,000 in 2000, according to court documents. It’s not clear when the Camden parcel was purchased, but it is valued at $87,000 in town records.

All three properties will be put up for sale and the proceeds will be used to repay Hunter Douglas. In addition, Throne must provide a list of other assets, which Hunter Douglas will be allowed to go through to see if any or all satisfy the court’s judgment.

In addition to the financial judgment, Throne is prohibited from divulging any trade secrets he may have learned while at Hunter Douglas.

Attorneys for Hunter Douglas declined to comment on the case.


Throne’s attorney, Toby Dilworth, said his client is happy that the case was resolved so quickly and that the charges against his wife were dismissed.

Attorney Peter DeTroy, who represented Mary Throne, said the case against her was dropped because “there was simply no evidence that she had any awareness or involvement in any of the conduct committed by her husband.”

This story was updated at 4:25, Dec. 13 to correct the hourly rate billed to Hunter Douglas.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.