Alpinestars lose airbag system appeal

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Germany’s Court of Appeal has upheld a patent ruling against Alpinestars over the long-running battle regarding their Tech-Air system and Dainese’s D-Air.

The ruling only concerns one aspect, relating to 'the general installation of an inflatable air bladder within a pocket of a garment,' rather than any particular design infringement.

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The court issued an injuction prohibiting Alpinestars from selling their Tech-Air Street Airbag Vests and Tech-Air Racing airbag vests in Germany. What's more they must recall any vests supplied since July 1, 2015, which are still in the possession of commercial customers in the country.

Finally, they must compensate Dainese for all damages suffered due to the sale of the infringing vests in Germany since that date.

Alpinestars have an appeal pending on the validity of this patent, which only applies in Germany. The Italian firm is awaiting the court’s judgement before taking further action.

An Alpinestars airbag system

The Tech-Air project began in 2001 and has advanced with the technologies to now boast claims like being 'the world’s first airbag unit to provide full upper torso protection in a transferable vest, using an independent electronic management system.'

In light of the decision, Alpinestars released a statement yesterday, saying: "On February 7, 2019 the Higher Regional Court of Munich issued judgment upholding the claim that Alpinestars' Tech-Air vest infringes upon patent EP 2 412 257 B1 held by Dainese S.p.A.  

"Alpinestars wants 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." 

This then continued on to state: "Alpinestars needs to point out that it has an appeal pending on the validity of this patent within the German Federal Court of Justice.   

"As consistently stated throughout this legal process, Alpinestars fully respects and honours third parties' intellectual property rights and expects the same with respect to its own 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."

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade