Tristar Sues TeleBrands For Retractable Hose Patent Infringement

Ragner Technology Corporation and Tristar Products, Inc. have sued TeleBrands Corporation, True Value Company, and Scott True Value Hardware, Inc. for patent infringement associated with use, marketing and sale of the TeleBrands Pocket Hose retractable garden hoses.

The action, filed in the United States District Court for Delaware, is the latest in a string of patent infringement lawsuits, countersuits, patent invalidation claims and non-infringement actions in the U.S. and abroad related to the marketing of DRTV-promoted expandable and retractable consumer garden hoses.

The complaint by Ragner and Tristar (which markets The Flex-Able Hose) seeks an injunction to stop sales of all variations of the TeleBrands Pocket Hose, plus damages. The plaintiffs estimate in the complaint that TeleBrands Pocket Hose sales have exceeded $650 million and that plaintiffs have lost profits from such sales in the range of $100 million.

The complaint asserts that the use, marketing, and sales of the TeleBrands Pocket Hose retractable consumer hoses, including the Pocket Hose, Pocket Hose Ultra, Pocket Hose Dura-Rib, and Pocket Hose Top Brass models, violate the method patent claims of Ragner’s U.S. Patent No. 7,549,448 for linearly retractable pressure hoses. 

The complaint cites a Forbes news article interviewing TeleBrands CEO AJ Khubani, in which Khubani states that the Pocket Hose was created after an examination of Ragner’s retractable hose.  

Khubani at presstime could not be reached for comment on the Ragner/Tristar complaint.

Previously, in July 2013, Blue Gentian, developer of the XHose retractable garden hose, filed a suit claiming TeleBrands’ Pocket Hose and Tristar’s Flex-Able Hose infringe two patents held by Blue Gentian owner Michael Berardi (U.S. XHose distributors Emson and National Express were also parties in that suit). Blue Gentian later sued TeleBrands for patent infringement related to a third XHose patent.

Tristar subsequently sued the U.S. XHose distributors alleging infringement of the Ragner patent licensed to Tristar. That suit was dismissed without prejudice by a New Jersey judge.

The Blue Gentian suits against TeleBrands and Tristar in the U.S. await a trial date.