Rumor of the day: Ultimate Airball vs SupAir

Ultimate Airball®ProPaintball.com staff just uncovered news of upcoming lawsuits that could greatly alter the cost and quality of your favorite local and national tournament series.

Updated 12/31/09 with a statement and clarification from Craig Miller of Ultimate Airball.

ProPaintball.com inside sources are reporting that bunker manufacturer Ultimate Airball is gearing up for a legal campaign against Sup’Air / AdrenalineGames and possibly US-based leagues utilizing the SupAir products.

As far as we can tell, the issue with the paintball leagues is the use, display and “promotion” of patent-infringing products. Back in 2007, Ultimate Airball was granted Patent # 7,223,185 for a “hide behind bunker system and kit with impact dampening anchors”.

Sup’Air Adrenaline Games first introduced inflatable air bunkers in 1997 in Toulouse, bringing tournament paintball out of the woods and onto the turf. While this moment is a sure landmark in paintball history, this lawsuit could mark interesting times ahead for AdrenalineGames / Sup’Air.

From the looks of the Ultimate Airball website, things are starting to heat up:

Today, Ultimate Airball® is proceeding to successfully defend their Patent through amicable licensing agreements, and has returned to full production of the toughest inflatable bunkers ever made, and the dealers and field operators have collectively applauded the return of Ultimate Airball®!

Judging by the list of customers on the Sup’Air ball website; affected leagues may include the USPL, PSP, RPL, CFOA, WCPPL, GPL, and the NCPA.

SUP_AIRBALL TM - Adrenaline games

Potentially, the concept of “use, display and promotion” could be applied to paintball parks as well, including but not limited to CPX, Giant Paintball Parks, Pev’s, CFP, etc.

Update 12/31/09: Craig Miller has informed us that Brimstone & Ultimate Airball have no intention of going after the paintball parks themselves.

While the details have yet to arrive as to the result of the Ultimate Airball licensing agreement, this could spell rising tournament and field fees worldwide. Stay tuned to ProPaintball.com for updates as this story unfolds.

Update 12/31/09: Craig Miller filled us in on the delay between being granted the patent and enforcement of the intellectual property:

The reason for our delay in defending our Patent is because we spent
more than a year negotiating with our competitor, which resulted
in a mutually agreeable legal arrangement, which was signed in
Washington DC, but the competitor almost immediately breached
the agreement and failed to fulfill their signed, legal obligations.
This left us no more choices.

The fact is, Brimstone is looking for absolutely nothing that is not
ours. The Paintball industry is funny regarding patents and
intellectual property. It is a cottage industry full of opportunities
for inventors and designers, many of whom begin as players. So,
you’d think that the player base would want to protect their own,
and show loyalty to inventors that come up with a “better mousetrap”
that improves the game.

But sometimes, it seems to be the reverse. We’re a company of
players. At 52, I still play at big games and scenarios every year.
Our original labor force was a Team – Brimstone Smoke. So when
a foreign company failed to compete with our improved tubeless
system and finally contracted with China to illegally make carbon
copy knock-offs of our much better design, it seems that players
would side with us, the originators.

— Craig Miller, UA

38 Comments

  • I hope says:

    I hope we do not have to go back to playing on UA fields they SUCKED! As a field owner I will be piss’d if this is the end of Sup Air in the US. Milt UA is junk and you know it.

  • Matt says:

    Ultimate Airball is still around? Their bunkers look like they have down syndrome.

  • Scott says:

    Giving the patent a quick read, Sup Air can get around it by not including tie-downs and only using the water bladder.

    • OG says:

      And for all the fields, tournament series, and clubs that still own the non-water bladder fields…..they have to cease and desist….?

  • *** says:

    Well, as long as Sup’Air can draw this lawsuit for long enough, I don’t think that UA has the resources to fund a lengthy legal battle and will probably collapse. Remember, the Pulse was also the first to its patent, and look where it is now.

  • Ben Baker says:

    WAY TO HELP PAINTBALL ULTIMATE AIRBALL YOU SUCK!

  • lioutlaw says:

    This is really something right here….
    I do not like this at all, why would KEE want
    to sue SupAir… in all honesty UA is just jealous.
    That is my opinion of it…
    SurAir is much better quality and has been tested
    and proven themselves to how many people?
    Grow up Ultimate Air.

  • Jack says:

    And this is why UA sucks I really hope sup air gets out of this because UA have some of the worst bunkers I have ever used

  • Steven says:

    From a patent perspective, it’s be irrelevant that UA was granted a patent in 2007, when clearly SupAir had prior use from 10 years earlier. I don’t think UA has any chance of successfully enforcing that patent and wouldn’t expect SupAir to license anything from them.

  • Ben Baker says:

    boycott anyone?

  • insider says:

    UA is the same guy (Milt) who was behind the UAPL 3 man tv show from years past. I think he owes numerous pro team owners money who participated in the show…. maybe this is a way to get some money and give it to people he owes? probably not lol

    Airball bunkers haven’t helped the sport anyways. They got on TV numerous times (different networks even) and were rejected by viewers EVERY TIME.

  • Cal says:

    Those who can’t innovate…litigate!

  • Corey Field says:

    If this is true it is stupid. I will place my name out there by saying the owner of Ultimate Air, MILT CALL Is one of the BIGGEST SHIESTERS in Paintball! He owes a lot of people money and FULL air ball Field’s at that!! For them to be able to file a lawsuit is stupid. MILT I hope you loose Buddy!! If you do win though My e-mail is here for you to e-mail me to get my address to send My Team the rest of the money and Air ball field’s you owe!!!

    Corey Field
    Naughty Dogs

  • filing date says:

    Patent filed March 29, 2005… weren’t these manufacturers using elastic tie-downs prior to March 29, 2004? If so, patent not valid.

  • Bezerk86 says:

    that patent might be valid, anybody can get a patent for anything not already patented. That said I hope during the lawsuit that sup’air suits for theft of intellectual property ( if somebody has invented and used prior to fileing a patent) and wins I for one will back them 100% Milt is nothing more than a lazy scum bag trying to get rich on the coat tails of others. Face it milt everything in paintball you have ever done has failed.

  • Ben Baker says:

    i can see Supair being backed by paintballers world wide!

    SUPAIR > ultimate sports

  • […] ProPaintball reported a rumor of a new lawsuit to be underway in the U.S paintball market. The manufacturer was granted a patent for tubeless bunkers in 2007 and is now aiming to defend that patent. This from the UA website: HISTORY: In 1999, Brimstone Enterprises founders Craig Miller and Milt Call conceived and created the first successful tubeless inflatable Paintball bunker systems. A Patent Application was promptly submitted. […]

  • sucks says:

    It makes me laugh that they might sue the leagues that use the product… give me a break, that will not work out for them. What are you going to do, bankrupt all the leagues and start another 3 man TV league with your shitty bunkers?

  • Missy Q says:

    Milt Call is nothing but a trumped-up con-man. A true scum-bag to the core. Why don’t you pay what you owe Milt, and then go die quietly somewhere.

  • Jake says:

    Bust out your Renagade jumpsuits and slider frames were goin back to the woods!

    I have looked into patent law a little bit over the years and any patent that hinders growth of something can be revoked.
    Look for this to come into play.

  • Milt and Craig says:

    Please go away it is people like you that have put paintball where it is today. If you have not noticed its in very bad shape due to scum like you

  • Mike says:

    “The Paintball industry is funny regarding patents and
    intellectual property. It is a cottage industry full of opportunities
    for inventors and designers, many of whom begin as players. So,
    you’d think that the player base would want to protect their own,
    and show loyalty to inventors that come up with a “better mousetrap”
    that improves the game.”

    That’s old-economy thinking. The new economy isn’t about intellectual property. It’s about innovation and services. Do a better job and you won’t have to worry about suing your competitors. Put them out of business by being better.

  • Rafta says:

    Milt go get your money and get back to building the best inflatables once manufactured.

  • SPcanSuckIt says:

    Oh good, another Smart Parts. Hey Ultimate, just remember that what goes around, comes around.

  • nick says:

    “Sup’Air Adrenaline Games first introduced inflatable air bunkers in 1997 in Toulouse, bringing tournament paintball out of the woods and onto the turf via a system of interconnected tubes supplying air to each of the bunkers. While this moment is a sure landmark in paintball history, this lawsuit could mark interesting times ahead for AdrenalineGames / Sup’Air.”

    Ultimate Airball first introduced inflatable air bunkers.

    Might want to edit your article.

    • OG says:

      Wrong, Ultimate introduced TUBELESS inflatable bunkers.
      Source:In 1999, Brimstone Enterprises founders Craig Miller and Milt Call conceived and created the first successful tubeless inflatable Paintball bunker systems. A Patent Application was promptly submitted.

      • He says:

        Short memory for some, stupidity for others:
        Supair first bunkers were tubeless, with anchors and all that in 1998. That means UA has an invalid patent.
        As some of you said, UA owes money to a bunch of teams… that was a nice try to get some $$$ from Supair

  • CANEFAN4LIFE says:

    wow. thats all i can say. im done with tournament paintball if UA comes back. this is ridiculous. how come it took them THIS LONG to even decide to sue. its all Jealousy

  • Damien from Sup'AirBall says:

    I will post Sup’AirBall official answer to Mr. Miller’s claims tomorrow, Jan. 06th.
    Misleading and false claims will be addressed to set the record straight and the truth will prevail.

    Sorry i cannot comment more today… Stay tuned for more. It’s worth it.

  • […] and the possible legal action towards Sup’Airball  – originally found on ProPaintball.com. The Ford Report posted Craig Miller’s somewhat heated response to the rumors in this […]

  • Dont worry about it says:

    Hey if Ultimate Airball wants to talk law, how about them not giving their advertised prizes out for tournaments.

    Such as the top gun tournament at Ultimate Madness, last person to win that never received their “5man airball field” after years of trying to contact Milt Call for their EARNED prize.

  • just my opinion says:

    Being a part of the whole UAPL/WPL experience was interesting. YES, there is a bunch of money owed. YES, there are fields owed. I would love to see that money come back to me and my team. I would love to see a return on my investment.But the answer wont be bashing Milt, Craig or UA. I have used both systems and I have to say they both work well. Some people prefer Supair, some UA.
    It really is up to the courts to decide the outcome of the patent questions. I am not taking sides, but I must say that Milt did accomplish something amazing, and that was getting the WPL on tv. It may have crashed and burned but it was a valiant attempt. I wish that it had worked, it was awesome.There is definitely room for more than one bunker company. Let them all try and may the best bunker win.

  • […] Rumor of the day: Ultimate Airball vs SupAir | Pro Paintball … […]

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