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Court pares Split Pivot's legal costs in failed suit against Trek

Published January 4, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (BRAIN) — A federal court in Wisconsin has ordered Split Pivot Inc. to pay Trek Bicycle $40,000 in legal costs following Split Pivot's failed patent infringement case against Trek. Trek had sought $318,000 in legal costs.

Split Pivot, owned by suspension designer Dave Weagle, had sued Trek in 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, alleging that the Wisconsin bike maker had infringed on two of its patents related to mountain bike rear suspension design. Trek ultimately won that case in a summary judgment in December 2013. Split Pivot appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court, which upheld the decision in December 2014.

The original court then took up Trek's request for payment of its legal costs in defending the case. The Clerk of Court trimmed back Trek's original request for $318,000 by denying several costs, including the $48,000 Trek asked to recover for bikes that were used as exhibits at the trial. The Clerk said Trek did not show that the bikes couldn't be simply returned to inventory and sold.

Split Pivot's lawyers argued that it should not have to pay any costs because the company was indigent and would be bankrupted if forced to pay. The court rejected that argument, saying a bankruptcy court could deal with it, if it comes to that.

However, in an order released on Dec. 31, the court sided with Split Pivot in rejecting Trek's attempt to recover $225,000 related to processing electronically stored information used as evidence in the case. With the elimination of the bike costs, the ESI costs and some other smaller costs, the court ordered Split Pivot to pay $40,453 to Trek.

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