Cervélo disputes claims that European Patent Office has sided with Canyon in patent case
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cervélo disputes claims that European Patent Office has sided with Canyon in patent case

by Shane Stokes at 9:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Canadian frame company says ruling is yet to be made

Cervelo Test TeamCervélo has rejected several points made in an article today in Bike Europe, in which it was claimed that the European Patent Office had ruled against the Canadian frame manufacturer.

Describing that story as containing, ‘some glaring errors that demand clarification,’ Cervélo said that Bike Europe had got a very fundamental detail wrong.

“Contrary to the statements in the article, the main hearing with the European Patent Office has not even occurred yet,” it stated. “It will be held on 24 November. There are also other actions available to Cervélo in trying to correct the issuance of the patent. When the patent is ultimately withdrawn or invalidated there will no longer be a basis for a court decision against Cervélo and Tridynamic.”

The patent claim was made by Canyon Bicycles, which claims that Cervélo’s RS, R3 and R3 SL had copied elements of its frames. The Bike Europe article stated that an initial ruling was handed down by the Duesseldorf district court in September, which saw Canyon go up against former Cervélo distributor Tridynamic.

Tridynamic spoke about this ruling in the Bike Europe article, announcing “the recall of all frames and wheels series Cervélo RS, R3 and R3 SL which were put on the market since January 9th 2008.” The new 2011 R-models are not affected.

The article speculated that the patent infringement “could put a heavy burden on the financial position of Cervélo and/or Tridynamic.”

Having rejected the Bike Europe claims that the European Patient Office had already come to a conclusion, Cervélo fought back with statements of it own. It said that it had “responded by defending in the German court and more importantly, filing an opposition to the patent with the European Patent Office.”

It stated that it believed the patent should be invalid because of “prior use and obviousness. It is a combination of features which is believed to be known publicly for many years before the patent application and more recently in very common use by many manufacturers.”

And while it pointed out that the new Cervélo R-models with the BBright™ design didn’t use the combination of features, other rival frames did and would therefore be at risk.

Tension with former distributor:

The statements of both Tridynamic and Cervélo revealed a considerable degree of tension running between the two former partners. Peter Seyberth, general manager of Tridynamic, appeared to incriminate Cervélo when he wrote about their past dealings.

“We seriously regret that we have bought apparently infringing goods from Cervélo and sold them to our customers”, he stated. “Particularly unpleasant for us is that we have contributed to these potential patent infringement, because we supplied two frames of Canyon on request by Cervélo and sent them to Canada in 2005.”

Cervélo said that things fell apart for good reason, and suggested that Tridynamic’s claims were based on sour grapes.

“Cervélo discontinued doing business with Peter Seyberth and Tridynamic in August of 2009 as a result of what we believed were serious irregularities in his business practices,” it said. “Cervélo presently has a legal action against Tridynamic and Peter Seyberth for funds which are believed to have been withheld while he was the Cervélo Distributor. It may be appropriate to see some of Tridynamic's statements regarding Cervélo and its products in this light.”

The company’s statement said that it initially included Tridynamic in the defence in the German court, but its law firm then withdrew its backing after September’s lower court ruling due to ‘disruptive and unnecessary’ public statements by Peter Seyberth.

As it continued on with an appeal, it means the decision is not automatically enforceable against it. However as Tridynamic did not appeal, Cervélo stated that the court decision was binding on it.

The bike company concluded by saying that the district court ruling applies in Germany only, and that whatever the final outcome, that it would not have a material financial impact on Cervelo.


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