Kohler suing Elkay Manufacturing over apron-front sinks

Lawsuit alleges patent infringements

Kohler alleges 17 models of Elkay Manufacturing sinks, including the model pictured here, infringe on one of its patents.

Kohler Co. is suing an Illinois-based sink maker for patent infringement involving the method of mounting apron-front sinks to a counter.

Kohler filed the lawsuit last week against Oak Brook, Illinois-based Elkay Manufacturing Co. in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin. The lawsuit seeks damages, including lost profits, and an injunction against Elkay to stop the company from selling the allegedly infringing sinks.

The lawsuit alleges 17 models of Elkay sinks include elements covered by a patent Kohler was awarded in 2015 for the design of an undermount, apron-front sink.

Kohler says its Vault, Strive and Whitehaven lines are examples of the patent that was the result of “significant engineering and development expense.”

“Kohler has extensively promoted its category of apron-front sinks and these sinks have been featured and highlighted both in design and lifestyle magazines as well as in numerous other media outlets,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says Elkay’s Crosstown Stainless Steel sinks are included in the models allegedly violating the patent.

The company says Elkay’s manufacturing and sale of the sinks “has caused and will continue to cause Kohler substantial damage, including irreparable harm,” unless the court blocks it from continuing.

Elkay has not yet filed a response, according to court records. A spokeswoman indicated the company does not comment on open legal matters.

A Kohler spokesman deferred to the information in the complaint.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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