Hurley suing Old Navy over patent

Hurley International, a Costa Mesa surfwear company, has sued Old Navy, alleging the retailer committed patent infringement of its signature board shorts and patented technology.

The dispute pits two retail giants against one another. Hurley is owned by Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike Inc.Old Navy is owned by San Francisco-based The Gap Inc.

Hurley alleges that Old Navy replicated its Phantom board short's patented firm waistband and flexible body material in the printed and solid board shorts sold at Old Navy, according to a federal civil lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Aug. 2.

The Phantom board shorts "are revolutionary products in the board short industry," and Old Navy isn't competing fairly, Hurley alleges.

"[Old Navy is] exploiting the innovative technology Hurley worked hard to develop," the lawsuit claims.

The shorts have tightly knit fabric, making them more lightweight than competitors, and are woven from various materials with different levels of flexibility compared with other brands primarily made from less stretchy fabric, according to Hurley's patent, which came attached to the complaint.

A pair of the Phantom board shorts for men range from $55 to $125 on Hurley's website, which boasts patent protected "EZ fly" and "durable water (repellence)."

A spokeswoman for Old Navy said the company doesn't comment on ongoing litigation, and would not discuss the case.

The suit was first reported by the Portland Business Journal.

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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