Court Vacates TRO and Denies Motion for Injunction in Columbia-Seirus Patent Battle

Fish announced today that on December 14 a federal judge vacated a temporary restraining order (TRO) against its client Seirus Innovation Accessories in a patent case brought by Columbia Sportswear North America Inc. The TRO was issued on November 16 to halt Seirus from initiating a proceeding at the Patent and Trademark Office to challenge the validity of a Columbia design patent. The judge also denied Columbia's motion for a preliminary injunction, paving the way for Seirus to request a re-examination of Columbia's patent.

The case involves patents that cover material that is used by Columbia in jacket linings under the name Omni-Heat. Columbia sued Seirus in Oregon in 2013 alleging that material used by Seirus in glove linings under the name HeatWave infringed Columbia's design patent. In 2014, Columbia amended the complaint, adding two utility patents. Columbia withdrew one of the utility patents shortly before trial. The case was eventually moved to federal court San Diego. Judge Marco Hernandez, a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Oregon, continued to oversee the case after it was moved.

In October 2017, after a 13-day trial, a San Diego jury returned a mixed verdict, finding Columbia's utility patent, U.S. Patent 8,453,270, invalid.

The jury did find that Seirus infringed Columbia's design patent, U.S. Patent D657,093, and awarded Columbia just over $3 million. After the jury trial had ended, Columbia requested a TRO to prevent Seirus from proceeding with a re-examination of the '093 design patent. The court initially granted the TRO before Seirus had a chance to brief the issue, but then after receiving briefing from Seirus and additional briefing from Columbia, the court held a telephonic hearing and at the end of the hearing issued a ruling vacating the TRO and denying the request for further injunctive relief.

"We are pleased that the court came to the right conclusions," says Chris Marchese, a principal in Fish's Southern California office who argued the motion for Seirus. "It seemed clear from the onset that there was no merit for the restraining order and Seirus may now proceed in the Patent Office."

Fish & Richardson attorneys Seth Sproul, Chris Marchese, and Tucker Terhufen, and Markowitz Herbold PC attorney Renee Routhage of Portland, Oregon, represented Seirus.