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Patent office ruling concludes Malibu-MasterCraft dispute

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a favorable ruling to Malibu Boats.
Malibu Boats said it has seven U.S. patents related to wake-surfing systems.

Malibu Boats said it has seven U.S. patents related to wake-surfing systems.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a favorable ruling to Malibu Boats in a patent dispute with MasterCraft regarding its wake surf systems.

MasterCraft Boat Co. had requested that the agency re-examine the patent during prior litigation between Malibu and MasterCraft.

The Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice of intent to issue an ex parte re-examination certificate for the patent without amendment to the original claims. The board found that none of the grounds in MasterCraft's petitions presented a reasonable likelihood of success regarding the challenged claims, Malibu said.

“We are pleased the distraction of the patent dispute with Malibu has been resolved and behind us,” MasterCraft global sales and marketing vice president Jay Povlin told Trade Only Today in an email. “We can now focus on what we do best — designing and delivering the best tow boats available.”

The Patent and Trademark Office’s recent order follows previous decisions rejecting challenges to another of Malibu’s wake-surfing patents. The companies reached a settlement in May, saying MasterCraft will license Malibu’s Surf Gate technology.

"We are pleased that the requested re-examination of these patents is complete,” said Malibu CEO Jack Springer in a statement. “This successful re-examination only further strengthens our confidence in the intellectual property protecting our wake-surfing technology advancements. We are very excited about continuing to expand our position as the leading innovator in the marine industry.”

Malibu filed a lawsuit against MasterCraft in June 2015, alleging that it had infringed on Malibu’s Surf Gate patent. Earlier that year Nautique Boat Co. agreed to license the Surf Gate technology after another dispute.

In addition to these two patents, Malibu owns five other relevant patents, as well as several continuation applications directed to varying aspects of its wake-surfing innovations, giving it a total of seven U.S. patents related to wake-surfing systems.

Malibu said it intends to vigorously defend its intellectual property related to wake-surfing systems.

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