Riddell Sues Rawlings for Patent Infringement

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

Sports-equipment manufacturer Riddell is butting heads with Rawlings Sporting Goods over alleged infringements of protective-football-equipment patents.

Riddell, based in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., filed a four-count lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court claiming certain Rawlings helmets and shoulder pads use Riddell technology.

The lawsuit identified five Rawlings helmet models — Tachyon, Impulse, Quantum, Momentum and Force — as infringing on its designs. The Titan- and Spartan-model shoulder pads were also included in the lawsuit, which seeks to stop additional infringement and asks for actual and compensatory damages as well as Rawlings’ profits.

“Riddell invests significantly in our intellectual-property portfolio,” said Dan Arment, President of Riddell. “When we believe our patents are being infringed, we will protect our investment.”

Riddell is the largest supplier of helmets to the National Football League. It was the official helmet of the NFL through the 2013 season, and maintains an exclusive collectibles licensing relationship with the league.

Founded in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., in 1929, the company was located in Chicago for many years before moving to Rosemont in 2005. Its equipment is manufactured at a plant in Elyria, Ohio.

Riddell is part of BRG Sports, which is owned by Fenway Partners, a private-equity firm based in New York.

Founded in 1887, St. Louis-based Rawlings manufactures a wide range of sporting goods, including the official ball and batting helmet of Major League Baseball.

Efforts to reach a Rawlings spokesperson were unsuccessful.