A Birmingham startup company has filed suit against Chums Eyewear for alleged patent infringement. Chums says the suit has no merit.
Cablz, Inc., has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Chums, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
The lawsuit is asking for a jury trial and compensation for the infringement of U.S. Patent 8,366,268, which the company claims protects Cablz’ “unique eyewear retainer system—worn by anglers, hunters, skiers, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts—invented by Cablz founder and CEO Ron Williams.”
The Chums products cited for infringement include the Orbiter, the Adjustable Orbiter and the Mono Orbiter, along with private-label versions C-Line and C-Mono sold by retailers.
“We take our intellectual property rights very seriously,” said Williams, “and we’re taking the steps necessary to protect our patents from any company or party that seeks to profit from them without authorization. Lots of thought, time and engineering went into our designs.
“We’re confident Cablz will prevail in this lawsuit. If so, Chums and its retailers could be liable for damages and Chums could be prohibited from manufacturing or selling its infringing products,” he said.
According to U.S. patent law, a U.S. patent holder has the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the U.S. or importing the invention into the U. S.
Cablz, a Birmingham startup company, began in a garage in 2008 with the original Cablz retainer. In 2009, it won the “Best New Product” Award at ICAST, the national fishing tackle trade show.
Chums has filed an answer to the lawsuit denying Cablz’ infringement allegations asserting counterclaims to invalidate the asserted patent and released a statement:
“Chums and its retail partners know that eyewear retainers, which are suspended off the neck of the wearer, were available from Chums and others for many years before Cablz filed for its patent in 2008.”
“In connection with its patent application, Cablz did not disclose and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not consider all of these prior eyewear retainers. In addition, Cablz waited almost a full year after it obtained the patent at issue before bringing what Chums believes is a meritless lawsuit.”
When reached for comment, Chums’ Vice President of Sales Mike Neary said, “Obviously, we feel the lawsuit and the patent has no merit. We’ve been making off-the-neck retainers for over 30 years.”
Fishing Tackle Retailer will continue to update the situation as events transpire.