Lenco Marine wins appeal on patent infringement


A federal appeals court judge ruled in favor of trim tab manufacturer Lenco Marine after the company appealed a district court judge’s decision in a 2004 patent infringement lawsuit filed by Bennett Marine.

Bennett was awarded $1.1 million in March when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that Lenco Marine, Lenco president Richard DeVito Jr. and Rinker Boats willfully infringed on Bennett’s patented Auto Tab Retractor.

In 2011, a judge also ruled in favor of Bennett, awarding the company $250,000, and the company decided to pursue legal fees. Lenco appealed the most recent decision, so the $1.1 million judgment was in escrow, pending the outcome. Bennett has made a cross-appeal with the potential to receive another $3 million.

But last week, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge overturned the ruling and threw out all money damages that Bennett had previously obtained.

“These baseless claims started 11 years ago, [so] it’s a great feeling to know that we persevered in standing for what we knew to be right,” DeVito said in a statement. “We knew we did not violate any patent and continued to appeal to the highest court, and ultimately won. This is behind us, now we can continue to focus on what we do best — make the best boats better.”

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