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Brands Charged with Patent Infringement

Published March 31, 2009

KETCHUM, ID (BRAIN)—Several sports manufacturers, including brands that produce bike specific clothing like Helly Hansen and Spyder Active Sports, are among the dozens being charged by Tec-Technology Enabled Clothing, Inc. with patent infringement.

The complaint against these companies stems from their use of “wire management capabilities for portable electronic devices” in jackets.

According to the complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, U.S. Patent No. RW40,613 entitled "Personal Assistant Garment" ("the '613 paten") was duly and lawfully signed on January 6, 2009 and awarded to TEC, based in Ketchum, ID. The '613 is a resissue of U.S. Patent No. 6,826,782 entitled "Personal Assistant Garment" that had been issued in December 2004.

According to the complaint, the patent covers a garment comprising: "a) a shell having an interior surface and an exterior surface and including at least one opening adapted to receive a portion of a wearer's body therein; b) a pocket exposed at least partially on the interior surface of the shell and including an aperture allowing items to be inserted into the pocket, the pocket further including a slit spaced from the aperture and adapted to enable a wire extending from an item positioned within the pocket to pass therethrough; and c) a wire holding member secured to the shell adjacent the at least one opening and adapted to hold the wire extending from the slit in the pocket."

According to the complaint, "each and every defendant named herein makes, uses, sells and/or imports at least one jacket and/or model of jacket that is designed to provide the wearer with wire management capabilities for portable electronic devices, including, for example, cellular telephones, mp3 players, iPods, and the like, that facilitates the management of wires running from the electronic device to the user."

It also claims that all defendants makes, uses, sells and/or imports at least one jacket and/or model of jacket that includes: (i) at least an opening allowing a wearer to put on the jacket; (ii) an interior pocket capable of retaining items, including electronic devices, with at least one primary opening for insertion of an item or items; (iii) an additional opening (separate from the primary and larger opening of the pocket) that allows a wire running from an electronic device retained within the pocket to exit the pocket; and (iv) a wire holding member (e.g., and without limitation, an elastic or non-elastic loop, rubber or plastic “tube,” clip or the like) secured to the jacket, which is capable of guiding and/or holding a wire running from the electronic device and through the additional opening separate from the primary and larger opening of the pocket."

It finally claims that many of the defendants make products which provide a wire holding member secured to the interior surface of the jacket and/or (ii) a wire holding member made of a loop of elastic material..

TEC is seeking that the defendants account for and pay to TEC all damages caused by the infringement of the ‘613 patent, "which by statute can be no less than a reasonable royalty. The company is also seeking pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on the damages caused by the alleged infringement.

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