Court does not uphold Maverick’s design copying claim

FT. PIERCE, Fla. — The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s ruling on Feb. 10 did not uphold Maverick Boat Company’s claim that American Marine Holdings’ Pro-Line copied its registered 2200V Pathfinder hull design, a Maverick press release said Thursday.

"While Maverick regrets the court’s decision, the ruling points out that the industry has not clearly defined the issues that led to the creation of the Vessel Hull Protection Act and the need within the industry for design protection," the release said.

In a press release issued by its attorneys, the principal officers and shareholders of Blazer Boats Inc., Keith and Lonnie Craft, said they "Are happy Blazer’s good name has finally been cleared, and the boating world and the public is now aware that it did not splash Maverick’s design."

The Blazer release went on to say the Craft’s never wanted litigation in the first place, but were forced into court in 2001 by Maverick’s allegation that Blazer had "splashed" or otherwise infringed upon Maverick’s 2200 Pathfinder Bay Boat design.

The Maverick release said it was not disputed at trial that AMH bought and used a 2200V Pathfinder bay boat as the starting point for its Pro-Line 22-foot bay boat. Maverick’s expert, Eric Sponberg, a certified naval architect, testified at trial to Pro-Line’s duplication of Maverick’s hull, according to the release.

The Maverick release went on to say that the Court found, "On the issue of hull definition, the hull and the deck to be a single entity, not separable, and therefore changes by Pro-Line to the deck ruled out the possibility of infringement of the Maverick hull," the press release said.

For its part, the Blazer release said the Federal Court "Noted significant differences between the Blazer Bay 2220 and the Pathfinder 2200 and ruled that Maverick’s two copyright registrations were invalid and ordered them cancelled."

Maverick said it will continue to work within the legal process to resolve this issue, yet the court’s decision affects the industry as a whole, according to the release.

"If this decision is unchallenged, the investments needed to improve the industry’s products would be without design protection, Maverick will continue to work for fair laws that offer protection for designers and their boats," the release said.

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