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Sealegs to pay $500K to competitors

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ORION AND SMUGGLER MARINE AWARDED COSTS

Following an almost four-year court battle, the High Court sealed an order for costs against Sealegs of around $500,000, to be paid to Orion and Smuggler Marine by May 26, 2020, or proceedings to liquidate Sealegs will commence.

Additionally, a combined damage claim of $11m is being filed against Sealegs. The damage claim arises from the injunction issued in December 2016, which prevented Smuggler, Stryda, Orion and other associated companies from manufacturing and selling amphibious craft.

https://boatingnz.co.nz/orion-and-smuggler-marine-awarded-costs

 

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Wow, Cant see Sea Legs surviving.

I think this is a good thing. It will allow competition in this market and bring the cost of these things down. We looked at getting a Sealegs for my mothers Partner so that he could keep boating with poor mobility, it was 200k for the cheapest Sealegs model, then 30k a year for recommended servicing and upgrades + getting the actual outboard serviced. That idea didn't go far!

From what I hear, the Smuggler version with electric drives in each wheel sounds like a simpler and safer system already.

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That is a lot of money, and it must be paid by next Tuesday... who keeps half a mil lying around just in case?

Whats the usual course of action here? Fold the company, appoint a 'suitable' receiver, then buy the IP and assets off the receiver and carry on trading under a different legal entity? 

It is one thing getting an award from the high court, it is another getting the cash, isn't it? Obviously I'm not aware of bonds already being lodged and the like.

I'm not entirely sure it is a good thing to see happen. Aside from the moonbeams cost of sealeags, they are a solid export earner and did do the hard yards in developing IP and innovation. NZ needs more smart manufacturing. That involves individuals poring in cash upfront and taking big risks. These guys need a fair crack at the reward if they take the risk, otherwise others wont follow suit and NZ wont launch the next crazy tech advancement, what ever that may be.

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Seems a bit mad that one company can prevent another from being able to compete. If Smuggler etc had something different to offer surely they have the right to toss their hats in the ring. There must be more to the story.

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56 minutes ago, Romany said:

Seems a bit mad that one company can prevent another from being able to compete. If Smuggler etc had something different to offer surely they have the right to toss their hats in the ring. There must be more to the story.

Here is the judgement

https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/pdf/jdo/34/alfresco/service/api/node/content/workspace/SpacesStore/470cce0a-ffd8-4b50-855a-be1c353c811d/470cce0a-ffd8-4b50-855a-be1c353c811d.pdf

it is one of those stories with alot of gray areas.The principal red flag for me was that the founder of Orion was an ex Sealegs employee so in my view really he had taken IP with him. However the ruling does not place much weight on this. There was also the initial relationship between Sealegs and Smuggler which fell apart. So all in all bit like a divorce, very messy.

Notable point from the ruling

[62] For the purposes of the appeal the appellants did not challenge the High Court’s conclusion that the appellants were not credible or reliable witnesses based on the findings that:...

So you would say the appeal was won on points of law rather than general principles, which is how the law works. I think Sealegs had a valid case in principle but their lawyers went about it the wrong way.

A somewhat similar story was Manson's knocking off the ROCNA design, in spite of the ROCNA having NZ design registration.  Pete Smith asked my advice at the time, I said unless you have $100k to spend on lawyers you are screwed, his lawyer told him basically the same thing. So the registration was essentially worthless.

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