One heck of a court battle between two motorcycle gear companies.
A Munich court has ruled in favor of Dainese in its patent infringement suit against Alpinestars. The Munich Court of Appeal has confirmed that the airbag vests for riders that Alpinestars marketed under the name “Tech-Air” infringe on the German part of one of Dainese’s European patents.
Alpinestars had appealed a previous ruling on a validity proceeding but lost, and its only hope now is to appeal to the German Federal Supreme Court.
In short, Dainese is going after Alpinestars because it has copied an essential piece of the Dainese D-air vests. It put it into the A-stars “Tech-Air” vests without paying Dainese for the privilege. This court ruling only covers Alpinestars airbag vests sold in Germany. The company must now not only stop selling those vests there, but must recall all vests that have already been sold, since 2015. On top of that, A-stars has to pay damages to Dainese.
Dainese isn’t done yet, though. It has filed invasive patent litigation against Alpinestars in Germany and won (pending any appeals by A-stars), but that litigation is still pending in Italy, the UK and France. This might turn out to be very costly for Alpinestars.
The kicker is, back in 2015, with a nod to absolute rider safety, Dainese released its D-air technology as an open platform, so that other motorcycle safety gear manufacturers were able to incorporate the technology into their products. This did not mean, however, that those other manufacturers were free to use the patented technology without paying Dainese for the privilege, which seems to be exactly what Alpinestars has done.
This legal battle has raged since 2015, when Dainese first filed suit. The initial decision against Alpinestars in Germany came in 2017. It appealed and just yesterday, learned that appeal failed. We have no word yet on the legal battles in the other three countries, but we will keep you posted. If you live in Germany and own an Alpinestars “Tech-Air” vest you might want to make some decisions now, because A-stars might not let you keep it. On the bright side, they might buy it from you! Did you keep your receipt?
Munich, Germany, February 7 2019 - After a long judicial battle, the Munich Court of Appeals (following the Munich Court decision of First Instance I in August 2017) reached a final verdict that the Tech-Air™ Street airbag Vest (for road use) and Tech-Air™ Racing airbag Vest (for track use and road), manufactured and marketed by Alpinestars, infringe on Dainese's European patent EP 2 412 257 B1.
This comes after the German Federal Patent Court had previously ruled in 2017 that Alpinestars violated Dainese's D-air technology; a decision which Alpinestars appealed. The current decision by the Munich Appeals Court in this infringement proceedings is only appealable by way of the German Federal Supreme Court.
The Munich Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Dainese regarding the core issues of the litigation, has issued the judicial order:
1) prohibiting Alpinestars to commercialize the Tech-Air™ Street Airbag Vests and Tech-Air™ Racing Airbag Vests in Germany;
2) ordering Alpinestars to recall any such vests which Alpinestars has supplied since 1 July 2015 and which are still in the possession of commercial customers in Germany;
3) Compensating Dainese for all damages suffered due to the sale of the infringing vests in Germany since 1 July 2015.
This decision is a major victory for Dainese in an intensive patent litigation fight against Alpinestars in Italy, Germany, the UK and France.