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Camping & Hiking

Sierra Designs settles intellectual property dispute over zipperless sleeping bag design

The innovative Backcountry Bed was at the center of the dispute.

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The Backcountry Bed features PFC-free hydrophobic 700 fill DriDown insulation and materials, and is offered in 20-degree Reg/Long and Women’s-specific constructed options, and 35-degree Reg/Long.Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs’ zipperless Backcountry Bed changed the sleeping bag market when it launched in 2013. It immediately won numerous awards and has remained the brand’s number one item. But that type of innovation has also attracted copycats over the years.

Today, Sierra Designs announced that it successfully settled an intellectual property dispute in German court over the bed, which features an oversized and integrated comforter that allows the user to sleep in any position without feeling constricted or cold.

“We’re pleased with the confirmation that this award-winning product is truly the original, and excited to announce that the most comfortable sleeping bag on the market is one uniquely available from Sierra Designs,” VP/GM George Bryant said in a news release.

Due to terms of the settlement, Sierra Designs cannot reveal the manufacturer named in the settlement, Bryant said. He said the patent violation arose in 2017 and the settlement validates that the bed is an “awesome product that should be defended.”

The Backcountry Bed is the culmination of Michael Glavin’s thinking that there are two types of people: those who are comfortable in a mummy bag and those who are not. He and another designer, Casey Sumnicht, sought to create a bag as warm as light as a mummy bag, but as comfortable as a bed at home.

“Sleeping bags are not what people ought to be buying because they’re built around thermal performance and not around how a person sleeps,” Glavin told Outside Business Journal. “The reason that I think people are interested in the Backcountry Bed is because they realize that the bed can obsolete the sleeping bag.”

Glavin, who left Sierra Designs a few years ago to start Zenbivy, an extension of his hybrid sleeping bag design, said he’s glad to know that the brand is defending the product after years of not. “My original vision was based on how people don’t go into the backcountry because the mummy bag sucks so bad…Sierra Designs recognizes that these patents have no value unless they defend them.”

Back in January 2017, Sierra Designs accused California’s Marketfleet of lifting the patented sleeping bag design and selling knockoffs, Business Denver reported.