LaBelle Lake Ice Palace fighting lawsuit, shut down

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LaBelle Lake Ice Palace fighting lawsuit, shut down

RIGBY, Idaho (KIFI / KIDK) – The LaBelle Lake Ice Palace has become a popular winter attraction in Eastern Idaho. But Ice company, Ice Castles, is trying to shut it down. The LaBelle Lake Ice Palace is owned by the owner of Ice Castles. However, on opening day, LaBelle Lake Ice cream owners got a claim and letter from Ice Castles claiming patent infringement.

"Originally we were like, OK, we'll shut down immediately if we're actually infringing on your patent , "said Kira Martin, co-founder or LaBelle Lake Ice Palace. "We looked into it. Their patent is completely different than ours."

After several warnings, Ice Castles is officially suing LaBelle Lake Ice Palace for patent infringement. However, LaBelle Lake Ice Palace owners say their systems are completely different. Ice Castles has a patent for freezing icicles together, but the LaBelle Lake Ice Palace uses ice logs.

"They do harvest icicles," said Jim Youngstrom, owner of LaBelle Lake Ice Palace. "They bring them in and they attach one icicle to another icicles to another icicle. And then they drape water over it and that creates their ice castles. We have a whole different system. Our system involved ice logs. So we have a variety of sizes of ice logs. They're symmetrical, so much easier with work and we can start it 8, 9, 10 feet high when we put these pillars together and then we'll let Mother Nature take over when we coat it with water . "

Ice Castles is also suing for damages saying it is losing customers at its Midway, Utah, location now that LaBelle Lake Ice Palace is open. Ice Castles has six locations, while LaBelle Lake Ice Palace only operates in Rigby.

"A big company from another state is coming in and trying to put us out of business," Youngrom said. "And they're not going to replace us by any means, they just want to get out of business, that's their goal."

LaBelle Lake Ice Palace plans to fight the lawsuit and started a GoFundMe to cover legal fees . They say if they win the lawsuit, they will build the most amazing ice palace next year.

"If we were doing something wrong then absolutely. But since we aren't infringing, they shouldn't be coming after us," Martin said. "They should be so much the people of East Idaho can see this and come to this winter wonderland and really enjoy Idaho winters."

You can find the LaBelle Lake Ice Palace GoFundMe page here.

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