Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. announced today (Nov. 18) it had received a permanent injunction late yesterday in its lawsuit against The Coleman Co. Inc., prohibiting the Wichita, Kan.-based company from licensing the Coleman name in the recreational vehicle industry.
The ruling in favor of Riverside, Calif.-based Fleetwood came less than two weeks before the start of the trial, on Nov. 30, in Kansas.
According to Fleetwood, the trial will still proceed on the issue of Fleetwood Folding Trailer Inc. and Coleman’s respective claims for damages based on Coleman’s termination of the license agreement in May 2003.
In a press release, Fleetwood Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Forrest Theobald explained that Fleetwood’s 1989 purchase agreement with Coleman included a “negative covenant,” which he said is the agreement Coleman made to refrain from any use of the trademark registration “Coleman” in connection with branding recreational vehicles.
“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision to grant the permanent injunction, which prevents Coleman from breaching our agreement and licensing the name in competition with Fleetwood,” Theobald said.
Another dynamic in the legal dispute is a long-term licensing agreement established between Coleman and Coachmen Industries Inc. in January of this year.
Coachmen said it had not received a written order on the ruling and could not issue a statement until that occurred.
In early July, Elkhart, Ind.-based Coachmen purchased a 147,000-square-foot facility in Middlebury, Ind., from Jayco Inc. for production of the new “Coleman by Coachmen” product line, initially featuring folding campers, travel trailers, sport utility trailers and hybrids.
Matt Schafer, Coachmen’s president and COO, recently stated, “In the third quarter we completed the tooling of the facility and hired key production employees and supervisors. Our product design team also has been busy finalizing the exciting designs for the new Coleman product line.”
Schafer did not reveal when the first Coleman by Coachmen units were planned to be ready for shipment to dealers.
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.