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Court rules Alpinestars' Tech-Air® vest infringes upon Dainese patent

The ruling applies exclusively in Germany

A GERMAN COURT has ruled that Alpinestars copied aspects of Dainese D-air® system in its Tech-Air® vest.

Last Thursday, February 7, 2019 the Higher Regional Court of Munich issued judgment upholding the claim that Alpinestars' infringes upon patent EP 2 412 257 B1 held by Dainese S.p.A, relating to its D-air® system.

Originally, Dainese accused its fellow Italian motorcycle clothing manufacturer of three patent breaches, however one (EP 2 373 188) was withdrawn in December 2016, after it was revoked by the European Patent Office. The second, EP 2 373 190, which concerned some specific features of the air bladder used in the Tech-Air® vest , was thrown out by the German Federal Patent Court on 15 May 2018, with Dainese appealing this decision.

However, the court last week found Alpinestars in contravention of the third patent, EP 2 412 257 B1, which concerns the general installation of an inflatable air bladder construction within a ‘pocket’ of a garment, featuring elastic panels.

This judgment is limited to the territory of Germany only, and has no bearing on any other territories around the world. Alpinestars has an appeal pending on the validity of this patent within the German Federal Court of Justice.

In a statement, the manufacturer wrote: “As soon as the Court serves the written judgment, Alpinestars will study the details prior to taking any decision on its next steps.”

However, Alpinestars is keen to stress that the patent infringement does not relate to its Tech-Air vest’s core technology.

The statement continued:  “[We] want 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.

“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.”

Visordown has contacted Dainese for comment.

We explored airbag suits in detail last year. Read the full feature here...

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