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Industry Scoop: Lacrosse Lawsuits Keep On Coming

0 - Published February 17, 2012 by in Gear

Editor’s Note: Barry Marenberg, a sports-focused Intellectual Property attorney with GameDay IP, LLC, alerted us to a new patent infringement case between Warrior and relative newcomer to the lacrosse industry, Tribe7.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Warrior is also involved in another case with Easton-Bell Sports.  Barry breaks down both cases so that those of us outside the law profession will know what’s going on.  To contact Barry, you can reach him on email via bmarenberg@gamedayip.com.
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Warrior Sports and Tribe7

Warrior Sports has filed yet another patent infringement lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan. This time Warrior has sued Tribe7 Lacrosse for infringing six (!!) patents which Warrior asserts as protecting its lacrosse gloves.

In its Complaint filed February 16, 2012, Warrior asserts that “Tribe 7, has without authority and license from Warrior, made, used, offered to sell, sold or imported into the United States protective sports gloves that infringe the Warrior Patents. The infringing protective sports gloves include, but are not limited to, the Tribe7 Ghost7.”

Warrior seeks a permanent injunction enjoining Tribe7 from further infringement and/or inducement of infringement of the Warrior patents, an award of damages and additional remedies.

In the very competitive world of lacrosse equipment, Warrior is being very aggressive in policing and enforcing its intellectual property. It is obvious from the complaint that Warrior spends substantial time and money on it’s R&D and is taking steps to ascertain that others do not profit from its hard work and innovations.

Warrior Sports and Easton-Bell Sports

On January 25, 2012, Warrior Sports, Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. asserting that Easton-Bell has infringed Warrior’s U.S. Patent RE38,216 for “Scooped Lacrosse Head”.

According to Warrior’s Complaint, the infringing heads by Easton-Bell include, but are not limited to, the “Launch” and the “Stealth HS”.  Warrior asserted that Easton-Bell’s infringement is willful and intentional and seeks a permanent injunction against Easton-Bell to prevent them from continuing to infringe, as well as compensatory damages, and additional damages based on the willful infringement as well as costs and interest.  The case is Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-10325-MAG-MJH and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Warrior’s RE28,216 patent is broadly directed to a lacrosse head having an open frame with sidewalls that curve continuously from the base to the lip of the frame so as to define a curved scoop-like frame geometry when viewed in side elevation. The claimed Warrior head further includes a frame base having an angulated ball rest surface and a shoulder recessed therefrom at which a net is attached to the base.

The lip that interconnects the frame sidwalls remote from the base has an outside surface angle that cooperates with the scoop-like geometry of the sidewalls to enhance control of ground balls. According to the teachings in Warrior’s patent, the overall scoop-like construction of the head frame provides improved feel during play, and enhanced ball control and pass/shot velocity. The recessed base shoulder, particularly when combined with the angulated ball-rest surface, protects the net attachment knots from abrasion, and also improves ball control during one-handed vertical cradling.

This is all highly technical stuff that most laxers don’t care about. They just reap the benefits and advantages of these technological innovations. Nevertheless, as noted in my past legal updates, the lacrosse equipment industry is huge business and highly competitive. The lacrosse equipment companies spend substantial sums of money on research and development and thus will aggressively police their intellectual property.

So now what comes next? After being served with the Complaint, the Defendant (Easton-Bell) typically must respond within a minimum of 21 days by serving an Answer (many opportunities exist to extend this time to file an Answer) on the Plaintiff. The Answer will typically be as vague as the Complaint and typically will refute just about everything alleged in the Complaint. Easton-Bell could even include counterclaims in its Answer and allege infringement by Warrior of claims in its own patents.

After Easton-Bell serves its Answer, the more specific details will emerge when “Discovery Requests” start flying back and forth between the parties. At that time, Warrior will get much more specific about which claims of its patents are being infringed, and specify about which specific parts of the Easton-Bell lacrosse heads are in-turn (purportedly) infringing their patent claims. Easton-Bell will typically argue they don’t infringe because their lacrosse heads (or the alleged infringing parts of the heads) are different from the asserted Warrior patent claims. Easton-Bell could also allege that Warrior’s patents are not valid for one or more reasons.

The filing of this lawsuit by Warrior follows upon the recent dismissal its patent infringement case against Reebok involving numerous patents covereing gloves, lacrosse heads and shoulder pads. Warrior remains involved in another lawsuit against Maverik for infringement of patents pertaining to gloves and other protective equipment. We will keep you updated about this new Warrior v. Easton-Bell case as well as all the other exciting patent cases in the lacrosse world.

Links to both of Warrior’s Complaints are below.

If anyone is truly interested in the intricacies of this case or would like more details, I invite you to contact me at: bmarenberg@gamedayip.com.

Warrior vs. Tribe7 Complaint & Patents 

Warrior vs. Easton Complaint & Patents

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