On Thursday, a German court of appeals in Munich released a ruling that Alpinestars had infringed upon a patent by Dainese, which held bearing over the the brands’ airbag suit systems.
The impact of that decision amounted to a big blow to Alpinestars’ ability to sell its Tech-Air garments in the German market, as the ruling meant that Alpinestars could no longer sell its Tech-Air products in the German market, and also that Alpinestars would have to pay restitution to Dainese for damages.
Letting that news circulate through the weekend, Alpinestars has now issued a statement about the German court’s ruling, which not only adds more clarity to the patents in question, but also shows that the legal battles between the two companies are far from over.
In the press release, which is reprinted below, Alpinestars outlines the three patents that Dainese contests that Alpinestars infringed upon, and provides a timeline for the litigation that concerns those IP claims.
It is clear from Alpinestars’ tone and wording that the two Italian brands are likely to find themselves in court some more, as they both appeal the various decisions going through the German courts that concern these patents.
It is also of note that the patent from the most current decision centers around how the airbag is held in a garment.
Presumably, Alpinestars could change the way its garments carry and hold an airbag in order not to infringe upon Dainese’s patent (assuming the the higher court upholds the verdict from last week) and then Alpinestars could begin selling its Tech-Air pieces in Germany once again.
As we said earlier in our coverage of this news, this is surely not the last that we have heard about this legal dispute between Alpinestars and Dainese. Stay tuned.
Press Release from Alpinestars:
On February 7, 2019 the Higher Regional Court of Munich issued judgment upholding the claim that Alpinestars’ Tech-Air® vest infringes upon patent EP 2 412 257 B1 held by Dainese S.p.A.
Alpinestars wants to clarify that this action never involved the core of Alpinestars Tech-Air® technology; at no point, either past or present, has any action or patent infringement involved the electronic management, algorithm, or deployment mechanism, or any other part employed within Alpinestars entirely unique and advanced Tech-Air® technology.
Furthermore this judgment is limited to the territory of Germany only. It has no bearing on any other territories within Europe or the wider world market where Tech-Air® is available throughout Alpinestars’ Dealer network.
Originally Dainese alleged infringements based on three patents in Germany, none of them refer to Tech-Air® technology: one complaint was withdrawn by Dainese on 22nd December 2016, relating to patent EP 2 373 188, after this patent was revoked by the European Patent Office. The remaining two patents have been contested in Germany. The second, EP 2 373 190, concerning only some specific features of the air bladder used in the Tech-Air® vest, was wholly annulled by the German Federal Patent Court on 15 May 2018. Dainese appealed this decision.
The third, EP 2 412 257 B1, concerning the general installation of an inflatable air bladder construction within a ‘pocket’ of a garment, featuring elastic panels, is the point on which the patent infringement claim was upheld last week. As soon as the Court serves the written judgment, Alpinestars will study the details prior to taking any decision on its next steps.
Alpinestars needs to point out that it has an appeal pending on the validity of this patent (EP 2 412 257 B1) within the German Federal Court of Justice.
As consistently stated throughout this legal process, Alpinestars fully respects and honors third parties’ intellectual property rights and expects the same with respect to its own IP rights. Alpinestars’ highly innovative Tech-Air® products are based upon years of its in house research and development conducted by its own team of leading research and development staff.
Since the very beginning of the Tech-Air® project, which commenced in 2001, the freedom to ride with the most advanced innovations of performance protection has been the objective relentlessly pursued by Alpinestars and the result is uniquely advanced and capable technology. Tech-Air® is the world’s first airbag providing full upper torso protection in a transferable vest which incorporates a completely independent electronic management system, with no reliance on any external devices (sensors or GPS), to give accident detection and full airbag inflation before the first impact, dual charge for the track and off-road capability as demonstrated in the 2019 Dakar Rally.
Alpinestars’ Tech-Air® products represent an enormously innovative contribution to increased rider safety in motorcycling.