Dainese / Alpinestars Airbag Patent Infringement
A messy situation regarding a patent infringement for in-suit airbag technology began in mid-December between two of the world’s most known motorcycle-apparel companies – Alpinestars and Dainese.
Dainese says Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system infringes two Dainese patents in Europe, and that Dainese had sent a cease-and-desist order to a German Alpinestars dealer that was selling suits with the Tech-Air system. Alpinestars responded with a “Statement regarding press coverage of Patent Challenge,” which states that Dainese’s patent infringement only addresses the airbag material.
But now, Dainese, a household name in motorcycle gear worn by racing stars like Valentino Rossi and Guy Martin, has chosen to address Alpinestars’ statement and rectify some information regarding the situation:
“In Germany, Dainese did make a direct request to certain retailers, that they cease and desist from offering for sale the Alpinestars Tech-Air Street system, however, no legal action has been taken against Alpinestars,” Dainese reports.
From what we can gather, Dainese has made statement refuting the claims made by Alpinestars. Dainese has also outlined several key facts surrounding the issue:
- In October 2015, the Court of Munich released two autonomous preliminary injunctions against a German Alpinestars dealer, confirming that the Alpinestars Tech-Air system infringes two Dainese patents in Europe.
- Dainese has also recently filed, before a German Court, an additional lawsuit against Alpinestars, seeking compensatory damages for infringement of Dainese’s patents and the halting of commercialization of the Tech-Air system in Germany.
In addition, Dainese would like to clarify that:
- Dainese has never received a cease-and-desist letter from Alpinestars.
- Dainese has filed a lawsuit against Alpinestars before an Italian court, seeking compensatory damages for infringement of Dainese’s patents, as well as an urgent preliminary injunction for halting the commercialization of the Tech-Air system in Italy.
- Dainese’s patents have been released by the European Patent Office following a long verification procedure, and are therefore registered and fully valid.
Dainese says “At this time, Dainese will not comment further on the merit of those lawsuits, instead preferring to discuss them in the appropriate venues.
“Advocating and delivering safety to people exposed to traumatic injuries in dynamic sports has been the mission of Dainese since Lino Dainese founded the company in 1972. From the very first day, Dainese has been the innovator for protection in active sports, with major industry firsts including the back protector for motorcycle riding, skiing, mountain biking and equestrian use, as well as the D-air airbag system, which Mr. Dainese conceived in 1995.”
- Dainese owns 26 patents on the D-air technology and has made extensive investments in the research, invention, development, manufacture and marketing of the first and most innovative airbag-protection platform for motorcyclists: the D-air systems for racetrack and road use.
- In 2015, D-air for racetrack use became an open platform, as D-air Armor was integrated into the products of other motorcycle-garment manufacturers, enabling more riders to take advantage of the safety provided by the Dainese D-air system.
- The D-air platform has also been used to develop D-air Ski, an innovative airbag system for use in skiing, as well as airbag systems for use in the automotive field.
Dainese appears to be taking a position that advocates safety and product development above legal quibbles. As a consumer, this is something that we can all benefit from and from the look of things, the brand has not attempted to pursue any legal means regarding safety technology. We hope this gets resolved amicably as the advancement and pursuit of high quality safety equipment is something that should not be impeded.