Chicago Bears Practice Field Is Infringing on Patent, Suit Alleges

infringing, Naperville business law attorneyAs a business planning and litigation attorney, I see cases every day in which both fledgling companies and well-established businesses use the patented ideas of another without properly securing the rights to them. In many industries, being innovative is a major key to success, which means that stolen technology is not only unethical but could also be devastating to the patent holder, at least from a financial perspective. When such issues arise, it is important to address them quickly so as to minimize the potential damage. It is in this vein that a federal lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Illinois last month over the synthetic surface on which the Chicago Bears practice.

Advances in Artificial Turf

The Bears training facility is located in Lake Forest, Illinois, in Lake County, north of Chicago. The practice field turf was installed by a company called UBU Sports, based in Downers Grove. The turf is a combination of plastic grass blades and a filler made of ground rubber that allows athletes to maintain traction on the surface while reducing injuries compared to previous turf products. According to reports, UBU Sports has also installed similar surfaces for at least five other National Football League teams.

Not Original Technology?

The lawsuit was filed by FieldTurf USA, who claims that it has patented the plastic-and-rubber turf design, and included in its patent measurements and ratios for laying out the artificial grass blades. FieldTurf says that several of UBU’s products infringe on the patent, including the one being used by the Bears in Lake Forest. The understandably limited size of the market means that any damage to FieldTurf would be fairly substantial. There is simply not an unlimited number of facilities looking to have artificial surfaces installed.

This is also not uncharted territory for FieldTurf USA. The company sued AstroTurf LLC—one of the original pioneers in the artificial turf industry—successfully defending its patent and earning a judgment of $30 million in lost revenue and royalties. The suit against UBU Sports requests unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent UBU Sports from continuing to sell infringing products. The Chicago Bears are not party to the proceedings.

Contract or Patent Dispute?

When you have concerns about the business activities of another company, it is important to work a skilled lawyer so that you can clearly understand your options. If your intellectual property or patented designs are being used without permission, or if the other party is failing to live up to their contractual obligations, you need to take action to protect your business.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. At The Gierach Law Firm, we have been assisting business owners and entrepreneurs for over 30 years. Call 630-756-1160 for a consultation today.

 

Sources:

Chicago Tribune

Law360.com