Hoffman Clark Client Awarded $2.7 Million Patent Damages Verdict

A jury awarded $2.7 million in damages based upon the damages analysis established by Hoffman Clark in a June 21, 2017 patent infringement verdict. The case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia where Cobalt Boats, LLC, the owner of the patent-in-suit, asserted that defendant Brunswick Corp. was promoting and selling Sea Ray brand boats with a “submersible swim step” that infringed on Cobalt’s “retractable swim step” patent property.

Cobalt is a designer and manufacturer of innovative, high quality and stylish luxury recreational boats and accessories. The case involved Cobalt’s U.S. Patent No. 8,375,880 which is directed to a Swim Step feature on a boat that is easily flipped from a stored position within a boat’s rear swim platform to a deployed position below the water surface. Boaters can lounge on the Swim Step and use it to access the boat much more easily than traditional ladders. The Swim Step is a very popular Cobalt feature.

After Cobalt began selling its boats with the patented Swim Step feature, customers rapidly increased their purchases of the boat models sold with the Swim Step. Cobalt saw a steady increase in sales of its boats and demand for the patented Swim Step feature, and it is now the most popular feature on Cobalt’s boats. During trial, Cobalt showed that the Swim Step feature helped in selling its boats—and helped Brunswick sell its Sea Ray brand boats as well.

Hoffman Clark’s damages analysis took into account the incremental benefits that the patent property provides in estimating reasonable royalty damages. The jury agreed with the plaintiff and awarded damages based upon Hoffman Clark’s damages analysis. After an eight-day trial, the jury decided that Brunswick had “willfully” infringed on the patent and returned a $2,690,000 verdict.

Hoffman Clark is an integrated certified public accounting firm that provides specialized consulting services to clients and counsel in business and intellectual property matters. The Firm’s office is located in St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri. For more information about our services please visit our website at www.hoffmanclark.com or contact us directly at 314-863-8777.


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Elizabeth Barrett