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Cobalt-Sea Ray patent dispute continues

Sea Ray parent company Brunswick Corp. says it has complied with the terms of the initial judgement saying the company had infringed on Cobalt’s patent.

Sea Ray parent company Brunswick Corp. says it has complied with the terms of the initial judgement saying the company had infringed on Cobalt’s patent.

Cobalt Boats LLC filed another lawsuit against Sea Ray parent company Brunswick Corp., charging the company is continuing to infringe on Cobalt’s patented retractable swim step.

Brunswick says it has redesigned the swim step after a federal jury found it willfully violated Cobalt’s patent, and says Sea Ray has complied with the court’s injunction; Cobalt doesn’t think the redesign is different enough from the swim step found to violate Cobalt’s patented step.

“Brunswick has diligently complied with, and respects the permanent injunction and all other orders of the court,” Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera told Trade Only Today.

“For Brunswick to say they lived up to the stipulations of the courts, I think is unfair,” Cobalt Boats president Paxson St. Clair told Trade Only.

Cobalt said in the suit on Friday in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia that the swim steps currently sold on Sea Ray boats “are not significantly different from the Sea Ray swim steps that the jury found to be infringing at trial.”

"Sea Ray and Brunswick's arrogance and defiance in this matter has been mind-blowing to all of us involved in this three-plus year process," said St. Clair in a statement. "Following a jury finding that Sea Ray and Brunswick had willfully infringed on our swim step patent, Brunswick has ignored court orders and thumbed their noses at the legal process. Cobalt is now forced to ask the court to hold them in contempt in order to protect itself from a larger company with no regard for Cobalt's innovation."

Brunswick disputes “the inflammatory claims” in the most recent lawsuit, said Kubera.

“Cobalt was made aware of the newly-designed Sea Ray swim step when it was first developed last summer,” Kubera said. “Design drawings, exemplar components, and an entire swim platform were all provided to Cobalt as part of the disclosure process.”

Last year, a federal court jury returned a $2.69 million verdict to the case Cobalt filed in 2015, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Brunswick appealed the ruling.

The original judgment previously entered in Cobalt’s favor on Oct. 31 is subject to an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is expected to rule within a year, Kubera said.

Despite disclosures and transparency, until very recently, Cobalt provided no meaningful feedback on the new design yet now claims violation of the court’s injunction, Kubera said.

“In light of our efforts to inform and engage Cobalt in the process, it is perplexing and disappointing that they have pursued additional action before the court and that they waited so long to do so,” Kubera said.

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