“It’s My Seat!” Claims Wonderland and Evenflo in Patent Infringement Lawsuit
Who would have thought 200 years ago that there can be alternative locomotion other than walking? Even keeping that apart, who would have thought 50 years ago that one day we’ll witness autopilot self-driving cars. Hail, hail innovation for making our lives easier. Engineers from hundreds of industries are toiling every day to make our lives a little better, a litter easier, and a little brighter. One can spot a smell of competition in the market from seas away. Those innovators, who come first, seek shelter under the patent law. Portions of the rest either solicit legitimate ways to market or engage in not-so-legal acts. This time the claim is against Evenflo, a baby car seat designer company, for infringing three patents registered under name of the Swiss company, Wonderland Switzerland AG.
The complainant, Wonderland Switzerland AG manufactures and markets products like baby strollers, baby car seats, pack play, booster, and rockers under various brands including Graco, Nuna, and Joie. Back in 2018, the company came up with innovative car seat designs such that they can be adjusted so as to accommodate an infant, a toddler as well as a small child. The same year, Wonderland’s rival Evenflo, launched car seats bearing similar patterns. The so-called EveryStage car seat was vaunted by Evenflo on its website as “full adjustable with up to 10 different positions” designed in a way such that it is “an accurate fit for a growing child”.
Initially, the lawsuit was restricted to one patent; however, in May 2020 Wonderland expanded the claims by alleging that the entire EveryStage series infringed three registered patents, namely its Everfit car seat, its SafeMax car seat, and the Evolve car seat, registered as U.S. Patent №7,862,117, 8,087,725 and 8,123,294.
The complaint mentions, such “intentional infringement without regard for Wonderland’s patent rights constitutes egregious conduct sufficient to establish willful infringement.” Completely denying the accusations, Evenflo countered by pointing out that their design is rather an “afterthought” of Wonderland’s product and therefore, it does not infringe Wonderland’s patents. In fact, such a design up-gradation process is a standard practice followed in this industry, argued Evenflo.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware decided to start physical jury trials last November, anyhow, the date was pushed to May 2021 in light of the pandemic. Lately, on mutual request by both the parties, the Court agreed to hold a virtual trial this month.
Wonderland is seeking about $4-$8 dollars per infringed seat sold as damages making it to nearly an exorbitant amount between $400,000 and $800,000.