Forest River Inc. last week filed a civil suit alleging copyright infringement in federal court against Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC.
It is the third copyright infringement suit Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River has filed against Heartland in the past two years.
In this latest suit, filed Jan. 7 in Northern Indiana District Court in South Bend, Forest River alleges that the floorplan for Heartland’s MPG travel trailer, unveiled at last month’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, is an exact copy of Forest River’s copyrighted RP 176.
In other promotional brochures distributed at the show, Heartland displays images of the Geico gekko, a promotional character used by Geico, an insurance company owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., parent company of Forest River.
“This was not an innocent mistake; they targeted us,” Ryan Fountain, attorney for Forest River told RVBUSINESS.COM.
He said Forest River complained to Heartland, but the company did nothing, so the suit was filed.
In previous lawsuits, Forest River alleges that Heartland copied the Forest River Cedar Creek floorplans and that promotional materials for its North Country included false advertising.
Litigation between the two companies began after the October 2008 “hotel incident” in which Forest River alleges that Heartland attempted to lure Forest River dealers during Forest River’s dealer show held in Elkhart.
The first two suits are pending in courts in Fort Wayne and Hammond, Ind.
The latest suit seeks no dollar amount.