American National Manufacturing Defeats Select Comfort In a U.S. International Trade Commission Judge's Ruling on Patent Infringement Lawsuit
Corona, Calif., Nov. 23, 2016 – Consumer and medical air bed manufacturing company American National Manufacturing, Inc., defeated Select Comfort’s unwarranted patent infringement lawsuit in a recent judge’s ruling, the company announced Wednesday.
" It sounds cliché, but this truly was a David and Goliath matchup in the consumer bedding market and with these favorable rulings from the court, David won,” said Craig Miller, Jr., president of American National Manufacturing.
American National began producing consumer adjustable firmness air beds with numbers on the remote controls in 1987 and produces them today under the brandsPersonal Comfort® Bed and Instant Comfort®. The company also produces high-tech air beds for the medical market that are primarily used to treat and prevent bed sores on patients in hospitals and at home.
Select Comfort Corp., also a maker of number beds, filed a formal complaint in October 2015 with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Select Comfort alleged violations of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The original complaint [#337-TA-971] accused American National of infringing two patents: one for valve enclosure technology for the air control system, and the other for the design of an adjustable firmness air mattress with a split head.
A second patent infringement complaint [#337-TA-999] was filed by Select Comfort in April 2016, alleging infringement of a third patent for air adjustable mattresses. This second complaint now has been withdrawn by Select Comfort, thereby making American National the winner in both ITC cases.
“We are, of course, extremely pleased with the court’s decision that there were no violations of Section 337,” Miller said. “This is especially gratifying because last year, Select Comfort accused us in a news article of supplying copycat air beds to the market – which could not be further from the truth.” The positive initial ruling in the 971 investigation was handed down by the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission. As noted above, the 999 investigation has been terminated at the request of Select Comfort, with no findings adverse to American National.
“The fact is, we were producing a patented, computerized air adjustable bed with a number on it before Select Comfort. We have a full range of high-quality air adjustable firmness mattresses that we feel are superior to Select Comforts beds,” said Miller.
Consumer Access & Innovation Continues
American National believes consumers deserve choice, innovation, and affordability. These recent wins ensure that advances in consumer sleep technology can continue. “When comparing the sleep experience of other number bed makers, consumers are realizing not only the value but the quality they are getting from our superior mattresses, based on the feedback received from Amazon and other consumer review sites,” Miller said.
The Miller Family has been part of the fabric of innovation in Southern California since the early 1970s. While their inventions and innovations have spanned multiple industries, as an OEM manufacturer American National became known early on as the leading water bed maker. Today, American National has factories in both Southern California and Texas, as the consumer bedding business continues to expand rapidly. These new rulings will help ensure continued growth for American National in both locations.
Orchestrating the Big Win
The attorneys working these cases have a long history of success in intellectual property and patents, in addition to working in international trade law, Section 337, and arguing before the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Headed up by Larry L. Askew, II, General Counsel for American National, the legal team put up a win on these key matters. The attorneys and firms involved include:
- Kyle Elliott of Kansas City-based Spencer Fane LLP;
- Beau Jackson in the Kansas City office of Washington, D.C.-based Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP.;
- David Schultz of Minneapolis-based Maslon;
- Maxwell Blecher and Donald Pepperman of Los Angeles-based Blecher Collins & Pepperman.
“We were confident from the beginning that the facts were on our side, and that the claims were without merit. Nonetheless, it takes a talented and experienced legal team to navigate the convoluted, multi-faceted terrain of these actions,” Askew said. “It’s unfortunate that the largest player, holding greater than 90 percent market share, continues to assert its intellectual property against innocent parties. This sort of behavior only serves to stifle market innovation and limit consumers’ access to the best products and technologies available.”
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About American National Manufacturing
American National Manufacturing, with plants in Corona, Calif. and Carrollton, Texas, has been a leading manufacturer of sleep surfaces for the consumer and medical markets for more than 30 years. American National’s innovative design team has invented some of the most unique and first-to-market technologies across multiple industries, from consumer air-adjustable beds to therapeutic hospital mattresses and a wealth of OEM products. For more information, contact American National at 800-854-6295.
Mary Nell Westbrook
American National Manufacturing