NEODESHA, Kan., May 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On Friday, May 11th, 2018, Cobalt Boats, LLC filed a motion in federal court accusing Brunswick Corporation’s Sea Ray brand of violating an injunction order by continuing to infringe Cobalt’s patent on its flip-down “retractable swim step.” Cobalt believes Sea Ray continues to infringe Cobalt’s patent in the face of (1) a jury finding that Sea Ray willfully infringed Cobalt’s patent and (2) a court order permanently enjoining Sea Ray from further infringement. Cobalt asserts 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. As a result, Cobalt believes Brunswick is in contempt of the court’s order and that the Sea Ray branded boats continue to infringe on Cobalt’s patent. Now, Cobalt filed the contempt motion to continue protecting its valuable innovation.
This case dates back three years ago to January, 2015, when Cobalt sued Sea Ray Boats and its parent company Brunswick because Brunswick’s Sea Ray boats infringed on Cobalt’s patented “retractable swim step.” The retractable swim step is an innovation Cobalt introduced to the market in 2010 that has revolutionized the way Cobalt boat owners enjoy their boating experiences. Cobalt knew that the retractable swim step was valuable to its consumers, and Cobalt had an issued patent that would allow the Company to protect its innovation. Once Cobalt learned of the infringement by Sea Ray boats, Cobalt promptly filed suit to protect its rights. Despite repeated efforts by Brunswick to delay or prevent Cobalt’s claims from getting to a jury trial, Cobalt persevered and finally got its day in Court. Last year, in June, 2017, a federal jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, returned a verdict that Brunswick’s Sea Ray boats willfully infringed claims of Cobalt’s patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,375,880. In October, 2017, after the jury’s verdict, the presiding judge adjusted Cobalt’s award upward to $5.4 million and awarded Cobalt its attorneys’ fees. To protect its right to exclusively sell its swim step, Cobalt sought and obtained a permanent injunction to stop Sea Ray from selling additional infringing products. The permanent injunction bound Sea Ray to not infringe the ‘880 Patent. Cobalt’s most recent court filing addresses Sea Ray’s actions in contempt of the court’s injunction order and seeks further penalties against Sea Ray’s parent company Brunswick.
“Sea Ray and Brunswick’s arrogance and defiance in this matter has been mind-blowing to all of us involved in this 3 plus year process,” said Paxson St. Clair, President of Cobalt Boats. “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.”
On June 28, 2017, shortly after the trial, Cobalt Boats, LLC, a leading manufacturer and distributor of premium sterndrive and outboard boats was acquired by Malibu Boats, Inc. Malibu Boats is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of performance sport boats, with the #1 market share position in the United States since 2010.
Cobalt Boats was represented at trial by the law firms of Stinson Leonard Street LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP and by Stinson Leonard Street LLP in the previous appeal.