A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenville, S.C., in the ongoing patent infringement case filed by Z-Man Fishing Products, Inc. and parent company Holding One, Inc. against Joseph F. Renosky and Renosky Lure, Inc.
Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin is not expected to rule this week on the motion for partial summary judgment filed by Z-Man last October.
Renosky declined comment when reached by BassFan via phone this week. An e-mail seeking comment sent to Renosky’s attorneys was not answered. Representatives of Z-Man have not responded to a phone message and e-mail.
At issue is Z-Man’s contention that Renosky has infringed on its patent and trade dress related to specific design features of the ChatterBait bladed swimjig. The original complaint was filed in February, 2011.
According to court documents filed in the case, attorneys for Z-Man allege that Renosky has infringed on Z-Man’s patent by continuing to market and sell a lure that bears a striking resemblance to the ChatterBait. Renosky has denied the allegations in responsive filings with the court and is seeking a court order ruling Z-Man’s patent invalid.
In June 2010, Z-Man was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled “Snag-Resistant Fishing Lure” related to the ChatterBait, which was originally designed by RAD Lures co-founders Ron Davis and Ron Davis Jr. Z-Man acquired the ChatterBait from RAD in 2008.
"The issuance of this patent will help ensure that copycats cannot take advantage of our innovations in lure design,” Z-Man president Jonathan Zucker said at the time. “We believe that this patent will deter other lure manufacturers that have copied the ChatterBait from continuing to sell and market their knock-off products."
The following month, Z-Man was granted a second utility patent (patent No. 7,726,062), which expanded intellectual property (IP) to cover a variety of bladed lures and broadened the protection covering the mechanism by which the blade is attached. It's the validity of the second patent that Renosky is challenging.
Renosky applied for a patent for his own lure design in March 2010, but earlier this month the court denied his motion to admit as evidence an affidavit of Mark Manley, a patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to the affidavit, Manley, who has been handling Renosky’s patent application since it was filed, attested that “no claims of Mr. Renosky’s patent application have been rejected by the patent examiner citing the Davis patent.”
Court documents also reveal that Z-Man and Renosky did have a business relationship in which Renosky served as a distributor for Z-Man products. Upon termination of the distributorship, Z-Man alleges that Renosky undermined a relationship Z-Man had with a national retailer, and in turn the national retailer ceased carrying Z-Man products and began stocking Renosky’s products.
In January, District Court Judge Richard Mark Gergel ordered both sides to participate in mediation talks before April 2, in hopes a settlement can be reached to avoid a jury trial, which both parties have requested.