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MIPS takes POC to court over helmet technology

Published November 22, 2017

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that Vista Outdoor has no investment in MIPS. 

STOCKHOLM (BRAIN) — MIPS, the organization behind helmet technology intended to reduce brain injuries from oblique impacts, is suing POC, alleging the helmet maker's SPIN feature infringes on its intellectual property. POC, based in Sweden, was one of the first adopters of MIPS, which is now licensed by many helmet makers. POC began using its SPIN technology instead starting this summer

MIPS announced this week that it had been granted a preliminary injunction in Germany to prevent the sale of POC products with SPIN. 

MIPS said it is in the process of executing the order against POC. POC is permitted to appeal the order.

In addition to the POC suit, MIPS announced earlier this month that it had been involved with a patent dispute with a Canadian helmet maker. It said it expected that dispute to be resolved in the next five months.

POC continues to use MIPS in some products. MIPS said POC represents less than 1 percent of its net sales. In 2014, BRG, then parent company of the Bell and Giro brands, made an investment in MIPS but this investment was not part of Vista Outdoor’s purchase of the Bell and Giro brands in 2016. Bell Technology Acquisition (no relation to Bell, Giro, or Vista Outdoors) owns 16.5 percent of MIPS' shares.

MIPS is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange; its revenues in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 were about $14 million. Its January-September sales werre up 55 percent over the same period in 2016.

POC was founded and remains based in Sweden. It was owned by Black Diamond Equipment for several years, but in 2015 was sold to Investcorp Group, an investment firm that also owns the Dainese protective brand. 

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