On August 21, 2014, Pennsylvania-based Specialty Surfaces International, Inc. (“SSI”) filed a complaint against Georgia-based Deluxe Athletics, LLC (“Deluxe Athletics”) alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,976,645 (the “‘645 Patent”) for a “Vertically draining, rubber-filled synthetic turf and method of manufacture.”
|Sample from Deluxe’s website|
According to the complaint, Deluxe Athletics responded to a request for proposal from the Paulding County Board of Commissioners to install turf at two local high school football fields. Deluxe Athletics was awarded the project, which allegedly included specifications calling for supply and installation of a complete vertical draining, infill synthetic turf surfacing system consisting essentially of resilient particles with a woven/non-woven primary backing.
SSI alleges that the turf product Deluxe Athletics offered for sale to the Paulding County Board of Commissioners contains each limitation set forth in at least one claim of the ‘645 Patent. The language of the ‘645 Patent’s claim 1 is specifically repeated in the complaint. Claim 1 and Fig. 1 of the ‘645 Patent are reproduced below.
1. A synthetic turf comprising:
a sub-surface layer;
a porous aggregate layer over said sub-surface layer;
a pile fabric over said porous aggregate layer, said pile fabric comprising a plurality of pile elements tufted to a backing, said backing comprising a woven layer and a non-woven layer bound together; and
an infill for said pile fabric, said infill consisting essentially of resilient particles.
SSI seeks a judgement of willful infringement or bad faith, treble damages, and attorney’s fees.
The case is Specialty Surfaces International, Inc. v.Deluxe Athletics, LLC, Case No. 1:14-cv-02717-TCB, filed August 21, 2014, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr.