Chicago manufacturer sues rival for 'slavishly copying' its personal misting, cooling products

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jun 13, 2015

A Chicago company which bills itself as “innovators in the field of personal cooling,” making personal misting fans, sports bottles and other products, have sued a South Carolina-based competitor, claiming its rival has blatantly copied its designs and infringed patents in rolling out a new product line of personal cooling products.

O2Cool LLC, of Chicago, filed a complaint June 8 in federal court in Chicago against defendants One World Technologies Inc. and Techtronic Industries North America Inc., both of Anderson, S.C.

The 12-count complaint alleges One World and Techtronic have stolen the design for at least four O2Cool products when the partner companies introduced their Arctic Cove product lines in Home Depot stores. In the complaint, O2Cool said the copied products include Arctic Cove’s Drink n Mist bottle, Personal Misting Bottle, 18V Bucket Top Misting Fan and Arctic Cove Cooling Towel.

O2Cool alleges the Arctic Cove-branded products are nearly identical copies of its products sold, also at Home Depot, under such names as the Mist n Sip bottle, ArctiCloth Cooling Towel and others.

O2Cool says it has been creating and improving on personal misting products which cool the body through “flash evaporation” since 1992, and holds a number of patents and trademarks in its “portfolio of intellectual property rights in such products,” including water bottles, fans, sports towels and more. The products are sold at a variety of retail outlets, including Ace Hardware, Target, Walgreens, Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Wal-mart and more.

The company has sold its products at Home Depot since 2008, and sales at the home improvement retailer “ten-fold” in the seven years since.

However, in the years since, competitors have arisen, including the One World and Techtronic’s Arctic Cove line – which O2Cool says bears more than just a striking resemblance to many O2Cool products.

“Arctic Cove’s products are a result of slavish copying done by defendants (One World and Techtronic) to mimic the features of O2Cool’s cooling and hydration products,” the complaint asserts.

The complaint draws special attention to Arctic Cove’s Drink n Mist bottle.

O2Cool said the bottle is almost a “facsimile” of O2Cool’s Mist n Sip bottle. The bottles allow the user to “either drink water from the bottle, or mist themselves with liquid from the bottle,” O2Cool said.

O2Cool said it patented the bottle’s design.

However, O2Cool alleges its competitors, in releasing the Drink n Mist bottle, succeeded in placing on Home Depot’s shelves “a nearly-identical product with a substantially similar name.”

“The Arctic Cove product is nearly identical in its design – and defendants decided to name it something very similar to O2Cool’s product,” the complaint asserts.

O2Cool alleges its rival similarly patterned a number of other products for which O2Cool asserts it holds patents – which O2Cool says One World and Techtronic “misappropriated.”

O2Cool has alleged counts of patent and trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.

The Chicago company has asked the court to bar the defendants from “further infringement” of O2Cool’s patents and trademarks, and to order the defendants to pay three-fold damages, plus punitive damages, based on an accounting of the company’s profits from the marketing of the allegedly infringing products.

O2Cool has requested a jury trial.

The company is represented in the action by attorneys Michael A. Parks, Jonathan G. Musch and Michelle Ware Skinner, of the firm of Thompson Coburn LLP, of Chicago.




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