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ICON, Nautilus Gear for Round Two

LOGAN, UT — While the Nautilus Group is appealing the ruling last month in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in its case against ICON Health & Fitness, the latter is lauding its initial victory. The ruling is the culmination of several months of legal wrangling between the companies.

In its ruling, the court sided with ICON in all matters before it, denying Nautilus' request for an injunction against ICON in continuing to sell the CROSSBOW and further ruling the CROSSBOW did not infringe Nautilus' patents, ICON officials say.

“We respect others' patent rights. When we set out to develop the CROSSBOW, we were careful to create an innovative, distinct product that would not infringe upon the Bowflex patents,” says Scott Watterson, ICON's chairman and CEO. “As a consumer-centric company, we strive to develop better products that are more affordable to the consumer, based on our proprietary design. We believe we accomplished that with the CROSSBOW. We are pleased with the court's ruling and have always been confident in our position.”

Nautilus CEO, Brian Cook, is still not as confident in ICON's position, despite the ruling,

“Although the company asking for an injunction bears the burden of proof, we believe Nautilus has met that burden and, therefore, we have appealed this ruling. At the same time, we continue to focus on preparing for trial where the majority of issues, including claims for patent infringement based on the “doctrine of equivalents,” trademark infringement, and unfair competition remain unaffected by this ruling,” states Brian Cook. “Nautilus will vigorously protect and defend its intellectual property and will seek monetary damages and other remedies provided by law.”

Despite this case seemingly dragging toward a final conclusion, other disputes exist between ICON and Nautilus Group. In August of 2002, FreeMotion Fitness, an ICON subsidiary, filed suit against the Nautilus Group in the United States District Court for the District of Utah alleging infringement of one of ICON's patents on FreeMotion's innovative cable cross technology and other questionable trade practices. That action is still pending.

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