In the wake of Riot’s release of the Little Fuzzy, Minima Jig, Tantrum Craw and Recon bladed jig early in 2017, Riot Baits quietly put Global Anglers, LLC (d/b/a Gambler Lures) on notice of patent infringement. and demanded Gambler Lures cease and desist from all such infringing activity. Riot says this action was in direct response to Gambler’s unveiling of their Stinger, a lure which they say holds a striking resemblance to Riot’s patented Fuzzy Beaver. After careful review of the patent, Gambler Lures entered into a settlement agreement with Riot Baits to avoid litigation.
In accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement, Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures, admitted that the Stinger was infringing upon Riot’s held intellectual property rights. To avoid litigation and probable liability for damages, Gambler Lures further agreed to discontinue all manufacture, sales and marketing of the Stinger in its current form, and destroy all existing inventory. It was mutually agreed that Gambler can re-release the Stinger in a redesigned form that no longer contains the proprietary elements of Riot’s Fuzzy Beaver.
“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” said Riot Baits owner Matt Stark, “and any imitation of the Fuzzy Beaver is a testament of how effective it is at catching bass.”
The Fuzzy Beaver was designed and then released by Riot Baits in 2014. Riot says the success of the Fuzzy Beaver comes from a combination of design elements that set it apart from other beaver style baits The Fuzzy and Little Fuzzy both feature Riot’s patent pending Alternating Ridge Design (A.R.D) which gives the claws their unique flutter, while the chevron shape of the ribs allow trapped air to be released more freely than comparable baits with straight ribs. The Fuzzy’s action is also enhanced by thin side appendages and highlighted by a set of cross tail flanges that ensure the slightest rod tip movement will create action in the bait.
In spite of the obvious imitation, Stark initially struggled with the decision to pursue Gambler. “No one ever wants to deal with a lawsuit, but a patent is only as strong as your willingness to defend it. Our decision to defend our patent(s) wasn’t a personal one, but a business decision that had to be made. Thankfully, Val was well aware of the ramifications of the potential patent violation and worked with us for a quick resolution. I think we are both happy to have this behind us and are looking forward to 2018”.