A verdict has finally been reach in the German patent law dispute between Alpinestars and Dainese, concerning their respective airbag suit technologies.
In the ruling, the “Landgericht” court in Munich found that Alpinestars violated two Dainese patents concerning its D-Air technology, and thus issued a verdict that sees Alpinestars forbidden from selling its Tech-Air products in Germany.
Alpinestars will also have to pay Dainese restitution for damages incurred from Alpinestars selling Tech-Air products in Germany. The monetary amount of the damages will depend on how much Tech-Air product the Italian firm sold in Germany, which has yet to be determined.
After the verdict, both companies issued press releases touting their side of the patent dispute story, with clearly no love lost between the two parties.
Naturally, Alpinestars’ press release disagrees with the judge’s ruling, and says that the company intends to appeal the decision. The Alpinestars press release also reminds readers that the German decision only affects sales in Germany, and not the rest of Europe.
This is an important distinction, as Alpinestars and Dainese are still embroiled in a similar legal dispute in Italy, and Alpinestars has looked to the European Patent Office (EPO) to nullify local rulings on the two companies’ airbag patent disputes. Both of these actions are still pending, however.
Alpinestars has won one legal fight already at a higher level, seeing one of Dainese’s patent claims (it doesn’t specify which) with the European Patent Office overruled by the federal agency for the European Union.
Meanwhile, Dainese’s press release addresses Alpinestars press release directly, and reminds readers that no definitive rulings have been made in the Italian courts, and that the nullification actions with the EPO are still undergoing as well.
At the center of the German dispute is how to incorporate and ensure that an airbag would deploy while inside a garment. It does not deal with the technology surrounding the software and hardware used to make the airbag systems work.
Dainese holds similar regional airbag patents in France, Great Britain, Spain, and Italy – which could come into dispute if the EPO does make an overarching ruling first.
In Italy, Dainese claims five of its patents have been infringed, though no resolution has been reached yet in that market. Alpinestars has made motions for the Italian proceedings to be nullified, though no definitive ruling has been made on that motion yet.
With both companies still bitterly fighting over their airbag technologies, this is surely not the last word regarding the dispute between Alpinestars and Dainese. Both brands have more legal actions still in motion, and of course those verdicts can be appealed.
In the meantime, both brands continue to push their products to dealers and venders, with both racing and street products selling in Europe, and also finally in the United States.
Source: Alpinestars & Dainese