Cérvelo and Canyon reach settlement over patent dispute
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Cérvelo and Canyon reach settlement over patent dispute

by Shane Stokes at 1:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Frame manufacturers find common ground

CanyonThe court battle between Cervélo and Canyon in relation to the patent for the latter’s Maximus Seat Tube has reached a resolution, with both sides coming to an amicable conclusion after what they said was ‘a constructive dialogue.’

The announcement was made today in a joint press release from the bicycle companies, and follows on from a long legal process. Canyon originally filed a lawsuit claiming that Cervélo’s RS, R3 and R3 SL had copied elements of its frames. It argued that its Maximus Seat-tube, which was ‘designed for maximum bottom bracket stiffness,’ was first used in 2005 on the Carbon Ultimate F10 and Roadmaster F8 series, and that this was ultimately copied.

“The seat tube’s patented shape combines qualities that are otherwise in conflict with each other,” it explained in a statement in November. “The bottom bracket stiffness, a key factor in the bicycle’s forward drive, has been increased by 20% compared to a round seat tube, without experiencing any significant weight disadvantages. The derailleur’s pivoting range remains, despite the tube’s maximum bearing surface on the bottom bracket. Because the seat tube diameter is reduced towards the junction of the top and seat tube the comfort and lateral stiffness of the frame are in an ideal ratio.”

Cervélo’s had argued that the patent should be invalid because of what it said was “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.”

It added that it no longer used the design, but that many other companies still did and would be at risk if the final judgement went Canyon’s way.

The European Patent Office declared that the Maximus Seat Tube was fully patentable, but requested that Canyon adjust its claim. It is already patented in nine European countries, while corresponding patents have been granted in the USA and China.

Partial details disclosed in relation to settlement:

Today’s release represented a ceasefire between the two companies, who said that they each regarded themselves as ‘highly-innovative companies in the bicycle industry.’

The joint release laid out some details, but kept other facts under wraps. “The legal actions are settled. Cervélo is allowed to continue manufacturing its frames in the familiar way,” it stated. “In return Canyon gets the right to use certain patents of Cervélo. Confidentiality was agreed upon by both parties regarding the details of this arrangement and no further statements will be made.”

The heads of both companies welcomed the conclusion which should, in theory, result in both brands becoming stronger due to the sharing of patents. “After the long lasting lawsuit, both sides can once again concentrate on what they can do best: build high class, innovative and trendsetting bicycles,” said Canyon’s chief executive Roman Arnold.

Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen said that he was happy the matter was settled, and that it was “good news for both companies and for consumers.”

The latter company will be a major partner of the Garmin-Cervélo team from this season onwards.


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