November 2000 News

Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. files new patent infringement suit

November, 2000, Portland, OR - To protect patent rights on its best-selling model, Leatherman Tool Group has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing a California corporation of selling a knock-off of Leatherman's product in violation of patent law.

The Leatherman Micra, on the market since 1996, is the leading seller in the multi-purpose tool category and is one of ten multi-tool models manufactured by Leatherman Tool Group. Leatherman's headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Portland, Oregon.

The defendant in the case, Central Purchasing, Inc., dba Harbor Freight Tools, is a mail-order retailer headquartered in Camarillo, California. Harbor Freight also operates 88 retail stores scattered across 20 states.

According to the complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Harbor Freight is marketing a tool called the "Gordon 9 Function Pocket Tool." Leatherman claims that this product infringes seven of its United States patents.

"We believe the Harbor Freight product infringes on several of our utility and design patents," said Roger Bjorklund, Leatherman's vice president of marketing. "We are asking the court for an injunction to halt the sale of the infringing product." The suit also calls for Harbor Freight to pay damages and fees.

Leatherman Tool Group has been diligent in its efforts to protect its products against imitation. Since 1985, Leatherman has filed more than two dozen lawsuits and sent out hundreds of warning letters informing infringers of its patent and trademark rights. According to company president Tim Leatherman, his company intends to continue "vigorously enforcing our legal rights against those who sell knockoffs of Leatherman products."