Italian court issues preliminary injunction in favor of Columbia Sportswear

Italian court issues preliminary injunction in favor of Columbia Sportswear

An Italian court has granted a preliminary injunction against the makers of shoes that Columbia Sportswear Co. has contended is using proprietary waterproof-breathable technology, Columbia said in a news release issued Friday.

The Court of Milan, Italy, granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against defendants Geox S.p.A., Geox s.r.l., and Nibar S.r.l., in connection with the sale of certain “Amphibiox” branded shoes in Italy, Columbia said in the release.

The court, after determining that some Amphibiox shoes likely infringed an OutDry Technologies patent used to create waterproof-breathable footwear, authorized the seizure of certain Amphibiox products and issued an injunction to prevent further sale of the offending footwear, Columbia said. The interim decision is subject to appeal.

“We are very pleased with the ruling by the Court of Milan, and look forward to the next stage of the proceedings,” said Peter Bragdon, senior vice president of legal and corporate affairs for Columbia and OutDry. “We believe strongly that OutDry technology provides superior performance in waterproof-breathable footwear, and the OutDry patent portfolio is critical to the protection and advancement of our innovative technology. We will continue to pursue infringing products aggressively.”

Since its founding near Milan in 1998, OutDry, which is pursuing a similar infringement action against Geox in Germany, has produced waterproof, breathable footwear and gloves. OutDry’s patented and patent-pending construction methods bond a waterproof, breathable membrane directly to the inside of the outermost layer of a shoe or glove, thereby preventing water or dirt from penetrating to internal airspaces and fabric layers as commonly occurs with products that rely on bulky booties or bladders.

OutDry is based in northern Italy with an operations branch in China. Columbia purchased OutDry for $16.5 million in 2010.

— Allan Brettman