Lure Maker Sues Bass Pro Shops for Patent Infringement

LAS VEGAS—Huddleston Deluxe, Inc., filed a patent infringement, copyright infringement, and unfair competition lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Bass Pro Shops. The lawsuit alleges that certain Bass Pro products sold under the XPS brand, which are distributed online and in Bass Pro Shops retail stores throughout the nation, incorporate Huddleston’s patented swimbait invention and copy Huddleston’s distinctive design, which was made from a hand-carved fish prototype.

Huddleston Deluxe has asserted U.S. Patent No. 7,627,979 (“the ‘979 Patent”) titled “Fish Lure with Vortex Tail,” against the XPS brand “SLO-MO” swimmer product of Bass Pro Shops.  Huddleston Deluxe has also asserted claims for copyright infringement and unfair competition in violation of California Business and Professional Code §§ 17200, et seq.  Huddleston is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction, damages, including treble damages, and attorney’s fees in the litigation. Huddleston’s CEO, and the inventor of the ‘979 Patent, Samuel “Ken” Huddleston, expressed disappointment at the situation.

“Bass Pro Shops once sold Huddleston swimbaits in their stores.  It is unfortunate to see that they now appear to be infringing my patent and even copying the unique, detailed shape of our lures.  We attempted to address our concerns without litigation, but received no response. Unfortunately, that left us no option but to take legal action to enforce our rights. We respect and value intellectual property rights, and expect the same of others. We remain disappointed that Bass Pro Shops has failed to respect our legal rights, and we plan to vigorously defend our rights and to succeed in our claims against Bass Pro Shops.”

Huddleston’s attorney, Kimberly Donovan of GCA Law Partners LLP, added that “Typically we hear about large scale patent litigation involving huge companies, but patent infringement can also involve a small inventor and craftsman who developed his livelihood around his invention and creativity. That is the case here. Ken Huddleston was an innovator in the swimbait field, developing lures that imitate the natural swimming motion and tail movements of bait fish. It is unfortunate to see a large company profiting off his invention and design through mass-produced knock-offs sold at very low prices, as alleged in this lawsuit.”