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Personal Comfort Again Defeats Serial Litigant Sleep Number in $17 million Lawsuit

By Personal Comfort 20 days ago

In a Victory for Small U.S. Manufacturing and a Competitive Marketplace, Personal Comfort Now Has Two Wins Over Legal Claims Including Patent and Trademark Infringement

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer air bed company Personal Comfort® now has defeated Sleep Number® [NASDAQ: SNBR] in two unwarranted lawsuits, including a 12-member federal jury trial on trademark infringement/dilution, unfair competition, and false advertising that concluded last month.

Today's announcement marks back-to-back wins for the company and makes an even larger statement about making quality product in the number bed mattress market. Personal Comfort and its supplier American National defended itself against two lawsuits over three different patents, and won against Sleep Number in the U.S. International Trade Commission ruling on patent infringement at the end of 2016, and this October's federal jury-trial verdict is yet another big win.

At trial, Sleep Number claimed it was false advertising for Personal Comfort to say their beds were "preferred over Sleep Number" and were "upgraded versions" of Sleep Number. During trial, President of American National Manufacturing Craig Miller built both beds, side-by-side—a Personal Comfort A8 and a Sleep Number i8. After Miller's testimony, the jury rejected Sleep Number's false-advertising claims.

"We were proud to show the jury and everyone in attendance the true difference in quality manufacturing, and it was great to have jurors approach me after the trial to and say our product was clearly better," Miller said.

12-out-of-12 Federal Jurors Agree
During the trial, Sleep Number sought more than $17.1 million in damages from the defendants. The federal, 12-member jury awarded less than one percent of that damages request. More specifically, the jury awarded $120,812 against Personal Comfort for a few false-advertising claims on its website, and it found no individual liability for any Personal Comfort or American National employees.

Personal Comfort also prevailed on its counterclaim seeking a judgment that Select Comfort has no trademark rights on the phrase "number bed," which is a significant win because Sleep Number had blocked Personal Comfort from attempting to use that phrase in its advertisements on Google.

Sleep Number listed 106,582 advertisements that it alleged constituted either trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and/or unfair competition. The jury unanimously rejected Sleep Number's claims.

A Win Against Serial Litigators
This is far from the first lawsuit the $1.3 billion Select Comfort has brought against one of its competitors. But it is the first time Select Comfort has had to present its claims to a jury in this way.

"We were fortunate the jury saw right through Sleep Number's false claims," Miller said. "I've never experienced anything like this before - the jurors were congratulating us on the win and asking me where they could buy our beds at the conclusion of the trial. To me, it illustrated a basic point we've made all along: our beds are a higher quality build for much less money."

Larry Askew, II, General Counsel for Personal Comfort and American National, gathered a team of attorneys with a very specific set of skills on these key matters.

"It is a complex matter to turn back a wave of suits and actions filed in multiple forums and jurisdictions simultaneously. This is especially true where the plaintiffs' litigation budget is a large multiple of the defendant's revenue. For the first time in Sleep Number's history, someone stood up to their bully tactics and I'm honored to be a part of the winning team," said Askew. "The real beneficiary of this success, though, is the American consumer. We look forward to shrinking Sleep Number's market share, in excess of 90 percent, by giving consumers access to a vastly superior product at a better value."

The attorneys and firms involved include:

  • Chris Madel, Jenny Robbins and Cassie Merrick of MADEL, PA
  • David Schultz of Minneapolis-based Maslon, LLP; now Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • Kyle Elliott of Kansas City-based Spencer Fane LLP
  • Beau Jackson, Kansas City office of Washington, D.C.-based Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP

About Personal Comfort
Orlando, Fla.-based Personal Comfort sells innovative sleep products that are personalized to the individual sleeper. Personal Comfort makes it simple to personalize each side of the air-adjustable number bed with a remote control or any smart device. The company combines high-quality materials with state-of-the-art technology and superior customer service. Uniquely, its modular design allows for a build-a-bed style of construction so the consumer can self-select upgrades or downgrades depending on comfort or budget needs. The Personal Comfort bed is manufactured by a U.S.-based, FDA-registered medical device manufacturer. For more information, contact Personal Comfort at 1-888-979-3716 or visit personalcomfortbed.com.

About American National Manufacturing
American National Manufacturing, with plants in Corona, Calif. and Riverside, Mo., has been a leading manufacturer of sleep surfaces for the consumer and medical markets for more than 30 years, and developed the first patented computerized number bed in 1988. 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 or visit americannationalmfg.com.

American National Manufacturing Defeats Select Comfort

By Personal Comfort 1 years ago

NEWS RELEASE

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.

Protecting Innovation

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:

“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.”

# # #

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.

Media Contact:
Mary Nell Westbrook
American National Manufacturing
mwestbrook@americannationalmfg.com
816-500-4817