Dainese vs. Alpinestars: German Appeals Court Upholds 2017 Decision

Decision affirms Tech-Air infringes on D-air patent in Germany

alpinestars tech airbag system
A German appeals court has upheld a 2017 decision that says Alpinestars Tech-Air airbag vest infringes on Dainese’s D-air patent in the country.Dainese

The years long legal battle between Dainese and Alpinestars regarding the D-air and Tech-Air airbag technology respective to each company reached another milestone on February 7, 2019. According to a press release provided by Dainese, the Munich Court of Appeals confirmed a 2017 decision that Alpinestars does "infringe the German part of Dainese's European patent EP 2 412 257 B1."

As a result, an injunction against Alpinestars is now in place in Germany. The terms are as follows:

  • Alpinestars is prohibited from commercializing Tech-Air Street Airbag Vests and Tech-Air Race Airbag Vests in Germany.
  • Alpinestars must recall any vests in possession of commercial customers in Germany supplied since July 1, 2015 that violate the patent infringement.
  • Alpinestars must pay Dainese for damages due to the sale of infringing vests in Germany since July 1, 2015.

Alpinestars still has a option to appeal, but will need to have a leave to appeal to the German Federal Court of Justice (a.k.a. their supreme court) granted before it can proceed.

The details of this dispute, and other cases in Italy and before the European Patent Office, are complex. The German case brought two elements of the design into question, the airbag’s construction and the element that controls inflation. It’s unclear whether the appeal decision regards one or both of these items since the patent cited above mentions both elements.

Issues between the two companies began soon after Alpinestars released its first Tech-Air Street system in November 2014. Dainese brought its charges of infringement against Alpinestars the following year in Italy and Germany.

Dainese released its first versions of the D-air system to the public in 2011 (for track use) and 2012 (for road use). Dainese also has similar patents in the UK and France, so the possibility of these types of proceedings continuing well into the future are high unless a decision is made by a higher body within the European Union.

We’ve reached out to Alpinestars for its position on the situation and were assured an official statement is forthcoming, so stay tuned.