Settlement Reached in SeaDwarf Case

In a joint statement, Environmental Turf Inc., based in Fort Pierce, Fla., and SFR Holding Company Inc., based in Colorado, announced that the two companies have reached an agreement as to the patent, marketing and licensing rights to SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, a salt-tolerant turfgrass used in the golf and sports turf industries.

The dispute over the patent, marketing and licensing rights to SeaDwarf arose from a dispute among the original developers of SeaDwarf as to whom had the authority to license the grass and sell the right to SeaDwarf to a third party. SeaDwarf was developed by Stewart T. Bennett, Michael Depew and Paul Tillman. In the early days of SeaDwarf’s development, Bennett, as president of the original company, granted a master domestic license and master worldwide license to Environmental Turf, while Depew and Tillman, as majority shareholders and the majority of the board of directors, sold SeaDwarf’s patent and trademark to a precursor of SFR Holdings. Subsequently, a dispute arose among the stakeholders as to which company had the patent, marketing and licensing rights to SeaDwarf.

The terms of the agreement, in summary, are as follows:

  • SFR Holdings holds the trademark and the exclusive patent on SeaDwarf with Environmental Turf Inc. having all rights to the trademark and patent as the Master Licensor. SFR retains the rights to sublicense, propagate, distribute, market and sell SeaDwarf in Mexico. SFR is currently developing a network of licensed SeaDwarf sod producers in Mexico.
  • Environmental Turf Inc. holds the exclusive patent rights and marketing rights as Master Licensor to sublicense sod growers to propagate, distribute, market and sell SeaDwarf both domestically and internationally. This means that Environmental Turf is the central source and marketing company for SeaDwarf in the United States and worldwide, with SFR acting as the licensing agent for growers in Mexico in cooperation with Environmental Turf. The status of all sod producers currently licensed in the United States and internationally by Environmental Turf remains unchanged. Going forward, Environmental Turf will support SFR and all SeaDwarf producers in Mexico. Environmental Turf licensees may sell/import SeaDwarf into any country.

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