Brunswick Dodges $5 Million Boating Patent Infringement Award

Written June 4, 2019

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on May 31, 2019, reversed a $5,396,250 patent infringement verdict against Brunswick Corp., owner of many popular boating brands. Cobalt Boats, LLC v. Brunswick Corp., Fed. Cir., No. 2018-1376, unpublished 5/31/19.

Cobalt Boats, LLC owns US Patent No. 8,375,880 (the ’880 patent), which relates to a swim step—a small platform attached to the stern of a boat that makes it easier to get in and out of the water. Brunswick sells boats with an optional swim step, and Cobalt sued for patent infringement of the ‘880 patent.

The Federal Circuit found that claims in the patent specifically stated that the swim step be “capable of being rotated 180°,” and since Brunswick’s swim step wasn’t capable of rotating 180 degrees, Brunswick did not infringe the patent.