Amphibious boatbuilder wins appeal in copyright infringement case

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Sealegs amphibious boat

Sealegs amphibious boat

The Court of Appeals in New Zealand reversed a lower court decision that a competitor of an established amphibious boatbuilder had to stop building competitive boats, according to the New Zealand Herald. In July 2018, the High Court in New Zealand ruled that startup Orion Marine had to cease competing with Sealegs, which had built a global reputation for its amphibious boats. Sealegs was established in 2000.

The court ruled that former Sealegs employees, who had started Orion, had breached copyright design. The defendants, Darren Leybourne, Smuggler Marine Limited, Yun Zhang and David Pringle, were also ordered to pay court costs and damage to Sealegs.

Orion, which launched in 2012 to compete with Sealegs, appealed the decision. Following yesterday’s announcement, Orion said it would start building amphibious boats again.

"The court's decision has supported our view that Orion's amphibious technology is different to anything else currently available, and this is what the case was all about," Orion said in a statement. "With this now settled, we will be contacting the long list of people both in New Zealand and overseas who have been waiting for up to three years to put in their order for an amphibious Smuggler boat with an Orion system. We will return to building amphibious boats immediately.”

Future Mobility Solutions, which owns Sealegs, said it would appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

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