Court dismisses Nautilus patent case against Icon

Already having knocked down wins in the last few court rounds, Icon Fitness took the TKO in the legal battle brought by Nautilus charging patent infringement on the Bowflex by Icon's Crossbow. Nautilus has appealed the decision to a higher court.

Already having knocked down wins in the last few court rounds, Icon Fitness took the TKO in the legal battle brought by Nautilus charging patent infringement on the Bowflex by Icon's Crossbow when the district court dismissed the case last week.

"It's done, for all intents and purposes," Icon legal counsel Brad Bearnson told SNEWS. "It brings a sense of finality and, in that sense, it's a relief."

Nautilus President and CEO Gregg Hammann told SNEWS it has appealed the decision to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and believes the higher court may interpret the case differently.

Icon had won the latest court rulings, including one earlier this month by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, which basically found the Icon-made Crossbow was not substantially similar to the Bowflex and therefore did not infringe on the Nautilus patent. That was based on the so-called "doctrine of equivalents" of patent law. This section interprets patents more loosely so products can be compared to see if they are substantially similar, meaning companies can't just move a few parts or change a shape slightly and call something different. Icon had also won findings in May when Nautilus was denied a preliminary injunction for literal infringement, and Icon was granted a partial summary judgment on several claims of literal infringement. That meant those points would not have been allowed in the jury trial that had been set for December. In contrast to the doctrine of equivalents, literal infringement means a product is copied nearly exactly.

Although the loss certainly leaves Nautilus disappointed, it doesn't feel it's the end of the war. Winning at retail is what's most important, President Kevin Lamar told SNEWS.

"Our product is better. Our brand name is better," Lamar said. "We created the category, and when we are compared side-by-side, we are winning. The customers are voting with their dollars.

"In the channels of distribution where we compete with them, we're outselling them – at a higher price point," Lamar added.

Still pending is the trademark infringement allegation by Nautilus that has charged the Icon Crossbow, marketing under the Weider brand name, is too similar in name and promotions to those of the Nautilus Bowflex and thereby confusing to the consumer. Both the patent and trademark charges had been brought in the same suit filed by Nautilus in December 2002, but are being addressed separately.

So far the trademark battle is earmarked for a jury trial sometime in 2004, although that will depend on the decision rendered by the Federal appellate court, which is now considering arguments. In the last round, the district court in Seattle had agreed with Nautilus and granted the company a preliminary injunction, although that ruling was appealed by Icon to the federal court, which sided with Icon and stayed the preliminary injunction. Now the federal court is considering information by Nautilus about that reversal before Icon gets its turn to argue its case on paper. The court will then likely either send the case back to the district court in Seattle for review, trial and ruling, or dismiss the charges and end the case. That ruling may not happen for another eight weeks.

The Bowflex patent expires in April 2004.


U.S. court dismisses Nautilus' patent infringement case against Icon

After racking up a majority of the legal wins in the past, Nautilus came up short this week when a U.S. court dismissed all remaining claims in its pending patent infringement case against Icon less a month before charges were to go to trial, effectively ending the case. The more

Icon wins another round in Nautilus patent infringement battle

In a continuing volley in the legal battle over patent infringement, Icon Health & Fitness picked up another point when a district court last week granted the company a motion that means the court has found the Icon-made Crossbow machine is not substantially similar to the more

Nautilus loses federal appeal of Icon victory in patent infringement case

Icon's legal victory in a patent infringement case brought against it by Nautilus nearly four years ago was affirmed by the federal court when that court declined to hear the ruling by the lower court. On Aug. 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, more

Court rejects Nautilus plea to reinstate Icon prelim injunction

In the ongoing patent and trademark infringement case between The Nautilus Group and Icon Health & Fitness, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., has rejected Nautilus' argument to lift the stay that Icon won on a preliminary injunction in early August. Filed more

Icon wins first court-ordered payment from Nautilus in Bowflex patent case

Chipping away at the nearly $8 million verdict against Nautilus stemming from a 2002 trademark and patent infringement case, a federal judge has ruled that Nautilus must pay Icon $325,000 for false advertising of its Bowflex. The fine is part of a larger penalty awarded by a more

Nautilus loses preliminary injunction in Icon lawsuit

Losing the first round court battle in its lawsuit charging Icon with infringement of its Bowflex patents, The Nautilus Group will appeal a court ruling that denied a preliminary injunction it sought against Icon Health & Fitness. The injunction would have halted Icon's Weider more

Nautilus sues rival Icon over Bowflex patent violation claims

The Nautilus Group has charged rival equipment maker Icon Health & Fitness with Bowflex patent infringement by Icon's Weider Crossbow machine, taking the complaint to court in a lawsuit filed last week. "We will absolutely defend our assets and patents as due course of our more

Nautilus/Icon infringement battles wage on: Nautilus takes upper hand in preliminary arguments in Washington case

As the two behemoth fitness companies Nautilus and Icon spend millions of dollars a year on several patent and trademark infringement legal battles, Nautilus seems to have gained an upper hand in one suit it brought against Icon in December 2002, even though Nautilus lost its bid more

Icon, Nautilus file court briefs on Icon's victory in trademark infringement case

Icon and Nautilus have filed lengthy briefs with the U.S. District Court, District of Utah, with each company stating its side one last time before the judge in the case finalizes the $7.8 million jury verdict handed down in Icon's favor. The case was filed by Icon against more