Football Helmet Maker Riddell Sued Rawlings for Patent Infringements

Sports equipment manufacturer Riddell filed a four-count lawsuit against Rawlings, another sporting goods maker, over five Rawlings helmet models—Tachyon, Impulse, Quantum, Momentum and Force—and shoulder pads that allegedly infringe on Riddell’s technology.

More specifically, the lawsuit involves three patents related to protective helmet designs and one related to shoulder pad design.

At the end of the 2013 season, NFL and Riddell agreed to end a deal that gave Riddell an exclusive right to put its name on the helmet’s nose bumper.  For the approximately one-third of players who do not wear a Riddell helmet, manufacturer’s name does not appear at all on the helmet.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly said that the league “had to use quite a bit of leverage” to end the deal.  However, as the concussion awareness increased, NFL became weary of selling exclusive branding rights to a certain manufacturer over another.

Given this background, Riddell’s move to protect the patents to keep its competitive edge seems reasonable.  “Riddell invests significantly in our intellectual property portfolio” and “When we believe our patents are being infringed, we will protect our investment,” said Dan Arment, president of Riddell.

The lawsuit seeks for actual and compensatory damages and Rawlings’ profits and asks to stop additional infringement.

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