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Judge rules Trek does not infringe on Split Pivot patents

Published December 16, 2013

MADISON, WI (BRAIN) — A U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of Trek in a suit filed by suspension designer Dave Weagle.

Judge William Conley ruled Friday that Trek does not infringe on Weagle's patent for the Split Pivot suspension.

“The court found that Trek’s Active Brake Pivot technology does not infringe and we are continuing to develop our suspension technology,” said Bob Burns, Trek’s general counsel. “Dealers can feel confident in our technology given the court's well reasoned decision (that) it does not infringe on other designs,” he added.

Weagle filed the suit in the Western District of Wisconsin’s circuit court in September 2012. The two Split Pivot U.S. patents at the center of the suit are 7,717,212 and 8,002,301.

“Split Pivot never wanted to be involved in litigation. However, when we determined that our patent rights were being ignored, we made the difficult decision to sue Trek for patent infringement in the fall of 2012,” Weagle said.

“Although the court’s ruling is a temporary victory for Trek, this case is not over. Split Pivot intends to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which will review these important claim construction issues anew,” he added.

The judge’s ruling sounded like a R&D suspension analysis as Conley compared the leverage ratio curves of many Trek full-suspension designs to Split Pivot’s claims concerning leverage ratio curves in its patent 8,002,301. Conley found enough difference in leverage ratio curves to rule Trek did not infringe on this Split Pivot patent.

And Conley dismissed Trek’s infringement of Split Pivot’s patent 7,717,212, because the rear shocks Trek uses do not closely conform to the shocks Split Pivot describes in the patent.

“We are confident about the likelihood of prevailing on this appeal, where the reversal rate on issues of claim construction is substantial,” Weagle said.

Trek had countersued asking the court to invalidate Split Pivot’s patents at the center of this dispute; this the judge did not grant.

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