Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., which recently received some favorable rulings in its litigation against The Coleman Co., revealed late Monday night (Feb. 9) it expects to file a lawsuit against Coachmen Industries Inc. later this week.
Fleetwood plans to sue Coachmen because Coleman and Coachmen signed a licensing agreement last month giving Coachmen the right to market a series of towable RVs under the Coleman brand name.
Fleetwood had the right to use the Coleman brand on a series of folding campers from 1989 until Coleman canceled the agreement last year, alleging that Fleetwood breached the contract.
A Kansas state court had issued a temporary restraining order against Fleetwood, preventing the firm from using the Coleman trademark and logos. Although Fleetwood reported Monday night it “will still be restricted from using the Coleman trademark and logos on its products,” the company announced that the temporary restraining order was lifted.
On Friday (Feb. 6), a different Kansas state court judge ruled that California-based Fleetwood and its Fleetwood Folding Trailers subsidiary in Somerset, Pa., are “separate and distinct entities.”
The judge “lifted the restraining order completely as it applied to Fleetwood Enterprises (the parent company)” and also “agreed to consider moderating some of the restrictions contained in the portions of the order that still affect Fleetwood Folding Trailers,” according to the parent company.
Consequently, Fleetwood also will continue pursuing legal action against Coleman, Fleetwood officials said.
The firm’s RV Group Senior Vice President Chris Braun said many employees at the Pennsylvania plant of Fleetwood Folding Trailers were with the company in 1989 when Fleetwood first obtained the licensing agreement. He said they were the ones responsible for Fleetwood-built units accounting for more than 40% of all folding campers sold nationwide last year.
Coleman, best-known as a manufacturer of coolers and camping stoves, was an independent company when it sold its folding camper business to Fleetwood in 1989.
Eventually, Coleman became a unit of home appliance manufacturer Sunbeam, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2001.
Sunbeam eventually emerged from bankruptcy and it now is known as American Household Inc., of which Coleman is a subsidiary.