By Will Burgess
Timbersled, a subsidiary of Polaris Industries that produces snowbike conversion kits, has filed a lawsuit against its founder, Allen Mangum, for violating the company’s intellectual property.
Mangum founded Timbersled Products Inc. a snowmobile component company in 2001. In the late 2000s, Mangum rode his first snowbike which sparked an interest in producing conversion kits of his own with his wife Natasha Mangum at his facility in Ponderay, Idaho.
At the time the barely two decade old snowbike industry was steadily growing through specialty kits as Timbersled entered the market in 2010 and began manufacturing quick change kits interchangeable with enduro and motocross models from most major dirt bike brands.
With the claim that it only took thirty minutes to an hour to swap the track and skis using the existing swingarm and suspension, Timbersled started catching the attention of the hardcore snowbiker crowd.
In 2015, Polaris bought the Timbersled company, and kept Mangum on to continue consulting for the brand.
Mangum left the company in 2020 and by late summer of 2022 began promoting a new brand of snowbike kits via the launch of his new Mtn.Top Snowbike brand.
Polaris contends Mangum and the Mtn.Top Snowbike brand has infringed on their intellectual property and technology when they filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court this month.
Although Timbersled makes up a relatively small share of the global recreational vehicle company’s revenues, according to a quote obtained by the Minnesota Star Tribune, an unidentified spokesperson with Polaris called the lawsuit a “…necessary step to protect Polaris’s intellectual property and investment in innovation.”
As a condition of Polaris’s purchase of Timbersled, Mangum has been bound to a non-disclosure agreement which prevents him from using confidential trade secrets and research and development from Timbersled or Polaris in any competitive endeavors like Mtn.Top Snowbike which, according to the court filings, Polaris claims directly infringes on the agreement established.
Mangum has not yet issued a public statement in response to the lawsuit. We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Cover photo: A closeup of 2023 Polaris manufactured Timbersled. | Source: Polaris Industries Ltd.
Will Burgess is a journalist with Adrenaline Powersports Mag