Coachmen Industries Inc. hopes a jury’s decision last week ordering Fleetwood Folding Trailers Inc. to pay $5.2 million in damages to The Coleman Co. will have a positive impact on its suit against Coleman.
Coachmen, which entered into a licensing agreement with Coleman in January, filed suit in response to a separate ruling in favor of Fleetwood. A permanent injunction was issued, barring Wichita, Kans.-based Coleman from using the Coleman brand in the RV industry.
“While the verdict against Fleetwood in the Fleetwood Folding Trailers-vs.-Coleman suit has no direct bearing on the license or proceedings between Coachmen and Coleman, or on the suit between Fleetwood and Coachmen, this appears to be the first definitive finding of fact by a jury regarding the conduct of Fleetwood with respect to Coleman,” Coachmen spokesman Rich Allen told the Elkhart Truth.
Fleetwood acquired the Coleman folding-camper trailer business and the right to use the Coleman brand name on RVs in 1989. In late 2002, Coleman raised several issues under Fleetwood’s licensing agreement, including the method for calculating royalties, according to Fleetwood. The two companies were in discussions until May 12, when Coleman attempted to terminate the agreement and demanded that Fleetwood stop using the Coleman name, prompting legal action.
“Apparently, Coleman was found to be justified in terminating the Fleetwood Folding Trailers license, and injured by Fleetwood’s conduct. We are seeking to intervene in the case between Coleman and Fleetwood Enterprises, for the judge to reconsider the injunction that he issued against Coleman,” Allen said.
The permanent injunction against Coleman curtailed Coachmen’s launch of the “Coleman by Coachmen” towable line, scheduled to debut at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville.
Coachmen, instead, unveiled the new line under the Futura camping-trailer and Velocity travel-trailer brand names.