Hurley International filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Old Navy late last week in federal court alleging the retailer is ripping off Hurley’s Phantom boardshorts.
Hurley was awarded two patents relating to components of material, construction and stretch and how those elements work together in the Phantom, in 2010 and 2012, according to the suit.
Phantom, first launched in 2007, raised the bar in industry boardshorts and has been awarded SIMA’s Boardshort of the Year for four consecutive years.
The offending Old Navy boardshorts cited in the Hurley lawsuit.
There was some uncertainty in the industry when Hurley was awarded the patent whether the company would file a rash of lawsuits against industry competitors.
In light of this recent lawsuit, something Mark Weber of Hurley told me in an interview in 2011 about the patents seems prescient.
Since boardshorts are at the heart of the surf industry, “We believe if we as an industry own the boardshort we have a much better chance of controlling our own destiny,” Mark said at the time.
He also said then that Hurley sees the patent as a huge asset going forward that Hurley and its key retailers can leverage together as a point of differentiation from the rest of the larger retail world.
Two of the Old Navy boardshort styles cited in the lawsuit are selling for as low as $12 on the Old Navy website.
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 2, asks for a jury trial for the patent infringement case.
Hurley declined to comment on its decision to file the suit against Old Navy.