Columbia Sportswear Sues Partner That Supplied Faulty Heated-jacket Components
Apparel manufacturer Columbia Sportswear is suing a manufacturing partner that allegedly supplied faulty electrical components for the company's line of heated outerwear. Hong Kong-based Fibretronic Limited produced components that shorted out and melted fabric on the jacket, the lawsuit claims.
Columbia Sportswear paid approximately $950,000 to Fibretronic Limited for heating components, which were used in the cuffs of the company's Omni-Heat electrical jackets from May to September 2012. Seven styles of those jackets were later recalled in January 2013. Columbia Sportswear is seeking $9.4 million in damages from Fibretronic Limited.
Although there were no incidents in the U.S. of the jackets malfunctioning, there were separate reports in Europe and Canada of the wires shorting out and melting the wristcuffs. No injuries were reported in either incident.
Columbia Sportswear's heated jackets have come under fire since they were launched in 2011. In August 2012, Innovative Sports filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming it used heated jacket designs from Innovative Sports without authorization. That lawsuit was dismissed in April 2013. In an incident unrelated to the Fibretronic Limited issue, Columbia Sportswear issued a recall for some of its heated jackets in November 2011, and reissued that recall in January 2013, after it was found that the items had defects related to their the battery packs.
Columbia Sportswear has not issued a comment on its most recent lawsuit, although the company has said that it will not offer electronically heated jackets in its 2013-2014 winter collection.
Related story: Columbia Sportswear Recalls Seven More Heated Jackets