Last week, Dainese shared news of a German court’s decision to uphold a patent infringement judgment against Alpinestars and its Tech-Air airbag vest. The ruling states that the Tech-Air system infringes on elements of the D-air patent held by Dainese in the country, and requires Alpinestars to stop sale of the Tech-Air system in Germany, to recall any offending vests still on the market, and to pay damages to Dainese.
Today, Alpinestars has officially responded to the ruling.
The brand emphasizes that the German court proceedings had nothing to do with “the core Alpinestars Tech-Air technology,” but rather dealt with more general features of construction. We weren’t given specifics as to what those features were in Dainese’s release last week, but Alpinestars goes into much more detail.
According to A-Stars, the legal actions in Germany started with three patent infringement claims in the country. One of the complaints was withdrawn on December 22, 2016, by Dainese after the patent in question was revoked by the European Patent Office. A second infringement concerning “specific features of the air bladder” in a Tech-Air vest was annulled by a German Federal Patent Court on May 18, 2018. Dainese appealed that decision, and there’s no mention in Alpinestars’ release what the status is on that appeal.
The third patent infringement claim concerning EP 2 412 257 B1 is what the German court upheld last week. Alpinestars says this claim regards the “general installation of an inflatable air bladder construction within a ‘pocket’ of a garment, featuring elastic panels.” The company is waiting on written judgment to come down before it decides what its next steps will be.
However, the decision may be called into question by other means because Alpinestars has a pending appeal within the German Federal Court of Justice questioning the validity of the patent entirely.
Long story short, this battle is likely to continue for some time.
For now, the ruling only affects the sale and distribution of Tech-Air technology in Germany. Other countries in the EU can still distribute Tech-Air without issue.