Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law

Sporting Goods & Recreation


American Sporting Goods Trademark Portfolio
Knobbe Martens has served as lead trademark counsel for all of American Sporting Goods’ (AVIA, RYKA) and Basketball Marketing Company’s (AND1) United States trademark matters. We handled a sponsorship agreement between Basketball Marketing Company and the “Morris Twins” (aka Markieff Morris and Markus Morris) star basketball players picked 13th and 14th in the 2011 NBA draft. Our firm served as lead counsel in an exemplary trademark enforcement matter in 2011 (Formula One Licensing v. Basketball Marketing Company), where we negotiated a favorable worldwide settlement to resolve numerous oppositions worldwide by Formula One against our client, Basketball Marketing Company’s, trademark filings for the mark.

In the Matter of Certain Personal Watercraft and Components
Represented Yamaha in an ITC investigation against Bombardier Inc. on Yamaha’s watercraft patents. The case progressed through a four-week hearing before the ALJ. Just before the ALJ’s initial determination was issued, the parties settled.

Knobbe Martens was instrumental in securing patent protection for AMP Research's BED X-TENDER product, used to increase the effective length of pick-up trucks. The firm has worked with AMP to develop and implement a strategy that has resulted in Specialized being granted over 17 U.S. patents for key aspects of the BED X-TENDER technology. We also successfully negotiated a license agreement with a major Tier One supplier, resulting in AMP receiving millions of dollars in royalties while remaining free to continue to sell the BED X-TENDER in the aftermarket.

In addition, our firm asserted the BED X-TENDER patents on behalf of AMP in patent infringement litigation in which it obtained summary judgment of infringement against E-Z Load, which later resulted in AMP securing a permanent injunction and a final judgment awarding AMP damages equal to 25% of gross sales, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Andy Irons Trademark Portfolio
Knobbe Martens has advised on trademark, copyright and licensing matters on behalf of the estate of the legendary surfer, Andy Irons. This includes developing, implementing and managing a strategic plan for worldwide protection of the Andy Iron trademark portfolio, overseeing licensing agreements with large scale clothing partners, strategizing on brand extensions, and managing copyright protection for artwork created in honor of the late surfer’s legend.

Specialized Bicycle: Horst Link Bicycle Suspension
Knobbe Martens was instrumental in securing patent protection on one of mountain biking's most fundamental suspension designs, the Horst Link Four Bar Suspension. After other law firms were unable to convince the U.S. Patent Office as to the patentability of the Horst Link suspension, we were successful in securing three patents for the technology. The Horst Link patents became one of the cornerstones of Specialized Bicycle’s IP portfolio.

Specialized has successfully used the Horst Link patents through both licensing and litigation to achieve its business goals. Specialized brought suit against Jamis, dba Pacific Cycle, for infringement of the Horst Link patents based on the sale of its line of Mongoose Bicycles. Specialized’s suit resulted in Jamis agreeing to pay SBC for past infringement and redesign its Mongoose bicycle suspension. Similarly, Specialized sued Scott for infringement of the three Horst Link patents to prevent the infringement of the Horst Link patents based on the sale of Scott's Genius line of bicycles. This lawsuit resulted in Scott agreeing to fundamentally redesign its bicycle suspension.

Specialized Bicycle: The Brain
One of the other cornerstones of Specialized Bicycle's IP portfolio is the patents for its groundbreaking BRAIN front fork and rear shock absorber technology. The BRAIN technology is the "holy grail" of mountain biking in that it enables a mountain bike to act as a hard tail during heaving pedaling while still providing full suspension over downhill bumps and impacts.

The firm worked with Specialized to develop and implement a strategy that resulted in Specialized being granted over 25 U.S. and foreign patents for key aspects of its BRAIN technology. The existence of this significant patent portfolio has successfully deterred major competitors from copying Specialized's technology.

We also successfully asserted BRAIN technology patents in litigation regarding OnSport, LLC. This litigation resulted in the issuance of a permanent injunction against OnSport, as well as an award of treble damages and attorneys’ fees.

Specialized Bicycle Components: Specialized Bicycle Body Geometry Saddles
Knobbe Martens was instrumental in securing patent protection for Specialized’s Bicycle Body Geometry line Bicycle Saddles when another firm was unable to persuade the Patent Office of the patentability of the breakthrough saddle design.

After securing this patent protection, we worked with Specialized Bicycle to develop and implement an enforcement strategy against what had become the widespread copying of the technology by the bicycle industry. This strategy resulted in virtually all bicycle and bicycle saddle manufacturers respecting Specialized Bicycle's patent rights in the technology after a relatively short period.


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