Cocona Gets the Go-Ahead in Patent Lawsuit Against Columbia, The North Face
This is following various procedural delays related to motions filed by Columbia Sportswea. Now, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado has issued a series of orders that will allow the case to proceed.
The patent, issued to Cocona Inc. in 2015, teaches a revolutionary method for making a membrane enhanced with active particles, which replaces the inside layer of a hardshell fabric with a functional print. In the outdoor industry, this technology has been incorporated into products with a 2.5 (or two-and-a-half) layer fabric where the third fabric layer is replaced by a print layer. 2.5 layer fabrics are lighter, quieter, more compact and more comfortable than traditional three-layer hardshell fabric, so 2.5-layer material has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The 2.5-layer print technology has been around for decades. However, the traditional print layer reduced moisture vapor transmission, creating a trade-off between membrane protection and membrane performance. The use of Cocona's patented technology changes the print layer to a truly functional print that eliminates the trade-off, drying out the microclimate and increasing the effective moisture vapor transmission rate while adding protection and dry touch to the membrane.
In Nov. 2016, Cocona filed a lawsuit in the United State District Court for the District of Colorado, asserting the '287 Patent against Columbia Sportswear and The North Face (VF Outdoor, LLC) for selling products enhanced with active particles in violation of Cocona's patent rights. Cocona is aggressively pursuing litigation against both companies, and will pursue infringement cases against any other companies that violate the laws that protect Cocona's intellectual property in the future.
Cocona's claims of infringement have been thoroughly examined and documented by one of the worlds' foremost forensic laboratories: Analytical Answers, Inc., located in Woburn, Mass.
"Cocona is pleased, of course, that all arguments to separate, transfer, and dismiss failed to persuade the court. We prefer to create mutually beneficial business relationships with partners interested in using our proprietary technology. However, when a company is using our patented technology without permission, Cocona has no choice but to take the matter to a court of law regardless of how powerful their legal departments are," said CEO Jeff Bowman. "As a technology company with dozens of issued patents, we fiercely defend our intellectual property against companies that seek to exploit Cocona's patented technologies without permission."
Cocona had previously worked with The North Face to help the brand develop higher performance fabrics containing active particles. In fact, Cocona registered and owned the Flashdry® name and transferred ownership of it to The North Face when the outdoor apparel company was a customer.
Cocona licenses its proprietary technology to numerous partners throughout the apparel industry, allowing them to create and sell superior, higher-performing products. Customers who legally license this specific functional print technology include Carhartt, First Lite, Trek, Mavic, Ride, Sun Mountain and Rip Curl among others.