Burton Settles Vans Lawsuit, Splits Patent With Voile

Burton Snowboards and Vans, Inc./Switch Manufacturing announced today that they have reached an amicable resolution to the litigation regarding Burton’s 3D compatible binding patent and a Burton step-in boot patent. As part of the settlement, Vans has signed onto Burton’s 3D license program. In addition to royalty compensation for the 3D license, Vans has made a settlement payment to Burton and has cross-licensed Burton under Vans/Switch’s snowboard related patent portfolio.

According to Scott Barrett, Burton’s General Counsel, “Burton and Vans are pleased that they have been able to come to a businesslike resolution of this hard-fought patent suit. This resolution adds Vans and Switch to a growing number of 3D licensees. Both companies look forward to a productive and cooperative business relationship from this point forward.”

Burton Snowboards and Voile announced last week their cooperative efforts to share patents for splitboard technology. Both companies sell splitboards in the US and Europe and by cross licensing patents allowing for shared technology, the companies believe better products will be made which will ultimately stimulate both markets.

Burton Snowboards currently manufactures three splitboard models: Face 57, Custom 65 and Cascade 70. Burton owns European patent rights on splitboards and Voile owns certain rights in the US. The shared license agreement allows Burton to use Voile’s US rights and Voile to use Burton’s European rights.

Voile Equipment began manufacturing the first commercially viable splitboards in 1993. Voile also manufactures a full line of backcountry products including telemark ski bindings, skis, avalanche rescue shovels, and probes. Voile’s splitboard line includes the Split 59, 66, 73, 82, and 195 swallowtail.

The move ensures a win-win relationship between the two companies. “Friendly competition is exceedingly healthy for this new twist on snowboarding,” explains Scott Barrett, General Counsel for Burton Snowboards. “Cooperation between companies to share advanced technology will ultimately help the industry grow.” Voile’s Sales and Marketing Manager David Denning added, “backcountry is what we do at Voile; we are excited to enter this cross licensing agreement with Burton. It can only mean growth in a market that really focuses on the root and beginnings of snowboarding – hiking to ride powder.”

Burton – who many credit for where snowboarding is today, and Voile a backcountry product pioneer for over 20 years, both welcome the opportunity to work with competitors on endeavors that would benefit from the sharing and licensing of intellectual property and technology. “The ultimate goal is to continue to make developments that benefit the consumer and sustain and enhance the industry,” continues Barrett.