The Claim Was More Than Just Hot Air
According to a Dainese press release, a Munich Court of Appeals came to the conclusion after a long judicial battle that Alpinestar’s Tech-Air Street airbag Vest designed for road use and Tech-Air Racing airbag Vest designed for track use both infringe on the European patent EP 2 412 257 B1 issued to Dainese.
The decision comes after a similar decision that Alpinestars appealed by a German Federal Patent Court. That verdict came in 2017. Now, Alpinestars will have to take the case to the German Federal Supreme Court in order to get the ruling overturned.
The case stems from the patent for Dainese’s D-Air technology. The airbag safety tech was patented before Alpinestars came out with its Tech-Air gear. According to the ruling, Alpinestars can’t continue to sell the products. It will also have to recall any vests issued after June 1, 2015. This will impact some German commercial customers. Alpinestars will also have to compensate Dainese for all damages incurred since June 1, 2015.
The amount of money that’s wrapped up in the statement was undisclosed in the press release by Dainese. I would imagine it’s somewhere in the millions of dollars. While the first court ruling was a big win for Dainese, this one is even more impactful. We’ve not heard whether or not Alpinestars will continue to fight the decision and take this issue to the German Federal Supreme Court.
It’s a shame really, I’m all for more airbag technology making its way into motorcycle gear. With that said, it’d be nice companies could do it without infringing on each other’s patents.