Did you hear?...Commando Dave tracking new StairMaster owner to seek patent payout

The ink was hardly dry on the Nautilus deal to sell certain commercial assets of StairMaster and Schwinn when SNEWS® received an email and call from Commando Dave. Seems Commando has been on the hunt for more than a decade and he wants his fair share, he told SNEWS. Who is this Commando Dave and what is he hunting?
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The ink was hardly dry on the Nautilus deal to sell certain commercial assets of StairMaster and Schwinn when SNEWS® received an email and call from Commando Dave.

“I've got details you don't have,” he wrote. “I have been fighting StairMaster for a decade over my patent for the rack they stole and eventually incorporated into their machines.”

RackIt.jpg

Commando Dave, aka David Allen, a sports marketer/radio host in the Seattle area, said all he wanted was “his fair share of the deal.”

He led us to his website (www.commandodave.com) which took us down yet another rabbit hole like we went down when we were tracking the true identity of Fit Dragon and its affiliate Core Fitness, the announced new owners of the commercial assets sold by Nautilus. (Click here to see a Dec. 18, 2009, SNEWS story, “Fit Dragon unveiled as Land America taking over Nautilus commercial as Core Fitness.”

The “Commando Dave show” on his website illustrates with slide shows, blogs, essays, photos, videos, letters, emails and other commentary why he says he has a claim that dates back to when he approached StairMaster in the late ‘90s about a license or other deal for his reading rack design. He told SNEWS he invented Rackit in 1991. StairMaster apparently declined his concept in August 1998 or about three months before he was granted a design patent (DES 400,941) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (click here to see his patent).



According to C. Reed Brown, general counsel for Land America, which is the company behind Fit Dragon, Commando Dave’s claim was not in the disclosure papers by Nautilus, indicating to him that Nautilus was not aware of the claims. In addition, he explained that design patents aren’t worth much.

RackItPatent.jpg

“Everybody uses reading racks,” he said. “It’s as if I claimed I had a patent for four wheels on a car.”

SNEWS has tried to work its way through Commando Dave’s web show and although the alter ego “Commando Dave” can leave you with a furrowed brow and the website takes a serious effort to navigate, it does appear that Nautilus did know about the claim. However, the claim’s “validity and enforceability” were questioned (See a 2005 letter from a Nautilus counsel to Allen by clicking here).

Apparently the letter resulted in a telephone conversation in which the Nautilus counsel offered Allen $2,000 while Allen requested $250,000. (Click here to see that result.)

Allen told SNEWS, “They never had any motivation to deal with me straight up.

“Remove the Commando Dave, remove the sunglasses, remove the show and all that,… and the paper trail is there,” he added. According to his blog, “Commando Dave is an alter ego; part Incredible Hulk/part Black Panther.”

Nearly a dozen years after the saga began, Allen has also now fired off an email to the executives at R.W. Baird, the investment banking firm that helped negotiate the Nautilus sale.

His design patent expires in 2012.

--Therese Iknoian

Related

StairMasterLogo.jpg

New StairMaster/Schwinn commercial team ready to take orders -- for now still in Nautilus HQ

With the deal by Nautilus to sell the certain StairMaster and Schwinn commercial assets now closed (click here to see a Jan. 6 story on SNEWS®), the new company is starting to lineup its team and other logistics. Dustin Grosz, former vice president of operations for Nautilus, is ...read more

Fitness financials: Nautilus closes sale of select Schwinn and StairMaster assets

Nautilus closes sale of select Schwinn and StairMaster assets Nautilus (NYSE: NLS) said it completed the sale and licensing of certain assets of its commercial business to Xiamen World Gear Sports Goods, an affiliate and permitted assignee of Fit Dragon International. It ...read more

Fitness: Did you hear?...

>> Dave Taylor has been appointed North American sales manager for Bodyguard Fitness. Taylor originally joined Bodyguard a year ago, coming from Muscle Dynamics for the newly created position of eastern regional manager of commercial sales. Taylor had been at Muscle Dynamics for ...read more

Fitness: Did you hear?...

>> Dave Taylor leaves Muscle Dynamics July 3 to start at Bodyguard in a newly created position of eastern regional manager of commercial sales. He tells SNEWS he will not only work to expand the network for commercial sales, but will also develop strength products for Bodyguard. ...read more

Did you hear?... Millenium Fitness owner John Forcillo dies in accident

John Forcillo, founder and owner of Millenium Fitness and the Body Cycle brand, died in a tragic automobile accident in Quebec, Canada, on Jan. 24. He was 53. Body Cycle was based in Laval, Quebec, and was the owner of several patents for indoor group-cycling bikes, with one ...read more

Fitness: Did you hear?...

>> Florida-based Busy Body/Gyms to Go is opening its 15th store this month -- in Tampa. The new store will be more than 5,000 square feet with 1,500 square feet of warehouse space, which will serve as satellite distribution center for Tallahassee and Jacksonville. "We are ...read more

Did you hear?... Buff design nothing new

Regarding our story last week on tubular microfiber headgear by Buff and resulting knockoffs, one regular SNEWS® reader -- a well-traveled gear guru himself -- wrote in to say that he's purchased these type of tubes before in small specialty and surplus stores and he's not ...read more

Outdoor: Did You Hear?…

>> The SNEWS® team is issuing a Red Alert to all of our subscribers regarding a bogus email scam that attempts to lure you into downloading a harmful virus. A sample email that you might receive looks like it has come from us and appears as follows: "From: support@snewsnet.com ...read more

Fitness: Did you hear?

>> Did you happen to read the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 7? The Love & Money column in the business section had the headline: Why Gym Memberships Make Me Sweat. Columnist Jeff Opdyke writes about his wife's occasional insistence she need some piece of equipment or a gym ...read more