RV dealers selling Coleman brand units built by Fleetwood Folding Trailers Inc. subsidiary Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., will not face liability even though a licensing dispute involving Fleetwood and The Coleman Co. continues, according to a Coleman spokesman.
Coleman, a unit of American Household Inc., terminated its licensing agreement with Fleetwood effective May 12, but Fleetwood is taking a “business as usual” stance and is continuing to build Coleman-brand units, said Kathy Munson, director of investor relations at Riverside, Calif.-based Fleetwood Enterprises, parent of Somerset, Pa.-based Fleetwood Folding Trailers.
Fleetwood believes the dispute will eventually be resolved at trial in state court in Wichita, Kan., where Coleman is based.
Although Coleman continues to believe Fleetwood does not have the right to use the Coleman name, dealers do not face any liability as a result of selling Coleman units built by Fleetwood, said Mark Baker, New York-based spokesman for Coleman, a manufacturer of camping, backpacking, tailgating and backyard grilling equipment.
“If the two parties cannot work out their differences, there definitely will be a trial,” Baker added.
Coleman terminated the licensing agreement with Fleetwood in May because the firm believed Fleetwood failed to submit products to Coleman for its approval, sold Coleman products in countries where Fleetwood was not approved to sell them and for selling Coleman products not covered by the licensing agreement.
Fleetwood believes the dispute, which arose late last year, basically is over the method for calculating royalty payments to Coleman.
Meanwhile, Coleman stated it “remains committed to the RV industry and is seeking a new licensee to manufacture, distribute and sell recreational vehicles, folding camping trailers and related accessories under the Coleman brand name.”
Fleetwood, meanwhile, has stated that it would “take all appropriate legal action against any other RV manufacturer that may attempt to license the Coleman name until the issues between Fleetwood and Coleman are properly resolved.”
Coleman continues to seek a new licensee to replace Fleetwood, despite Fleetwood’s threat of legal action, Baker said.
Fleetwood acquired the Coleman folding-camper business and the right to use the Coleman name on RVs in 1989.
Coleman’s parent, American Household, was known as Sunbeam until December, when Sunbeam emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was renamed American Household.