Cobalt Boats files patent-infringement lawsuit against Sea Ray

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Cobalt Boats is suing Sea Ray Boats, saying the company has infringed on Cobalt’s patent for a submersible swim step.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said Sea Ray’s “reckless” infringement of the patent has caused Cobalt Boats to lose sales.

Daniel Kubera, a spokesman for Sea Ray’s parent company, Brunswick Corp., told Trade Only Today it is company policy not to comment on pending litigation.

The complaint said Sea Ray’s manufacture, use, and sale of boats having a submersible swim step infringes on Cobalt’s U.S. Patent No. 8,375,880, which was issued in 2013.

“As a result of Sea Ray’s willful infringement of the ‘880’ patent, Cobalt has lost sales to Sea Ray and has been and continues to be damaged by Sea Ray’s infringing conduct,” said the complaint, which Trade Only Today obtained.

Attorneys representing Cobalt asked in court documents that a jury determine “adequate” compensation for Sea Ray’s infringement, as well as coverage of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses connected with the lawsuit. Cobalt is also seeking a permanent injunction to prohibit future sales of boats with the swim step feature.

“We are very proud of our innovative products and intend to protect our patent rights,” Cobalt Boats CEO Paxson St. Clair said in a statement.

The swim step feature has been “a huge success for Cobalt” since it was introduced to the marketplace, the complaint said. Beginning last year, Sea Ray — “a direct competitor of Cobalt” — began promoting and selling boats with a swim step that “appears to copy Cobalt’s” and infringes on Cobalt’s patent, the complaint said.

The swim step is offered on 220, 240, 270 and 290 Sea Ray Sundecks, according to the complaint.