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aeroweanie
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Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:17 am

According to this Reuters ( Airbus sues Boeing partner over winglet patent), Airbus is suing API, challenging its patent on the blended winglet.

This is interesting, as US patent 5,348,253, issued to Dr. Louis Gratzer and assigned to API, was applied for February 1, 1993 and issued September 20, 1994. US patents in force before June 8, 1995 have a 17 year life from issue date or 20 years from filing date. Thus, this patent has about a year and a half before it expires. Will Airbus actually sell a sharklet before February 1, 2013? If not, why the lawsuit?
 
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garpd
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:02 am

So let me get this right.

API patent the blended winglet.
15 years or so later, Airbus develop their own blended winglet which looks identical and call it a sharklet and are now sueing the rightful patent owner?

I think I'm gonna go start a business of making cars.... what name should I use... Ford, yeah that sound good. Oh wait, someones already got that name...no matter I'll sue them!

That's what this story sound like to me anyway.

[Edited 2011-12-03 03:02:54]
 
LJ
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:11 am

Quoting garpd (Reply 1):

API patent the blended winglet.
15 years or so later, Airbus develop their own blended winglet which looks identical and call it a sharklet and are now sueing the rightful patent owner?

No, Airbus argues that its blended wings are not similar to those patented by API. Reason is obvious, Airbus doesn't want to pay API for royalties (according to the article it seems that API is threatening Airbus over its blended wings)
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:11 am

My only thought is they are trying to invalidate the basic patent so they can invalidate "improvement" patents and/or use thier own improvement patents without getting sued. Or maybe get ahead of a reverse engineering lawsuit?

On the face of it, this suit makes absolutely no sense.
 
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garpd
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:18 am

Quoting LJ (Reply 2):

No, Airbus argues that its blended wings are not similar to those patented by API. Reason is obvious, Airbus doesn't want to pay API for royalties (according to the article it seems that API is threatening Airbus over its blended wings)

I can see API's point of view. Put the API winglet and the Airbus sharklet side by side and they look identical.
I said it in the roll out thread, and I'll say it here. From a laymans perspective, they're identical.
 
ba319-131
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:23 pm

Quoting garpd (Reply 4):
I can see API's point of view. Put the API winglet and the Airbus sharklet side by side and they look identical.

- If you follow the route to the most effective aerodynamic design they will do.
 
Gingersnap
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:48 pm

Quoting garpd (Reply 4):
I said it in the roll out thread, and I'll say it here. From a laymans perspective, they're identical.

Sure, they're bound to if we're going for the best design type.

I can see API's point sure, but it appears they're trying to gain money out of something just because it looks similar.

I see this as if Boeing could sue Airbus over the use of the winglet on the A330/340, as they don't look too unlike the winglets installed on the wingtips of the 744.
 
bringiton
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:01 pm

Quoting garpd (Reply 4):

They have to look at technology aspect etc , side by side none can tell the difference between airbus and boeing products (common folk) , yet they dont go on suing each other on copyright issues :
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:30 pm

Quoting Gingersnap (Reply 6):
I can see API's point sure, but it appears they're trying to gain money out of something just because it looks similar.

Well, yes, when the similar looking thing is the exact thing that API has a patent on.

Tom.
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:46 pm

Quoting Gingersnap (Reply 6):

I see this as if Boeing could sue Airbus over the use of the winglet on the A330/340, as they don't look too unlike the winglets installed on the wingtips of the 744.

They are pretty different though!

Embraer´s winglets are similar too……..this could turn out to be a slippery slope!

No Tax On Rotax
 
hb88
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:48 pm

People people should perhaps read some basic patent law before holding forth.

Visual similarity is irrelevant to patent infringement. Read the claims of the API patent and educate yourselves.

This will be an interesting case...
 
yeelep
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:00 pm

From my non engineer view the Embraer winglet does not appear to come close to meeting the criteria of a blended winglet as described in the patent.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 3):
My only thought is they are trying to invalidate the basic patent

I think this part of the complaint supports your thought.

Item 13. of case # 1:11-cv-1030
Airbus is entitled to a declaratory judgement that the claims of the '253 Patent are invalid for failure to comply with one or more of the statutory requirements for patentability set forth in the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. etc...etc...

Link to complaint: http://www.scribd.com/doc/74482709/Airbus-S-A-S-v-Aviation-Partners
 
Dash8Driver16
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:52 pm

Professor Gratzer has done the math and design for blended winglets to many different aircraft including the 320 most likely at the behest of airbus at least 7 years ago.
 
hb88
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:48 pm

Quoting Dash8Driver16 (Reply 12):

Dash8Driver16 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted Sat Dec 3 2011 20:52:35 your local time (52 minutes 27 secs ago) and read 383 times:

Professor Gratzer has done the math and design for blended winglets to many different aircraft including the 320 most likely at the behest of airbus at least 7 years ago.

Judging from the grounds of the complaint, he was one of many working on blended winglets over the years.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:19 pm

Not sure about the U.S. patent law,but in Europe a patent can only be granted if the invention meets requirements such as novelty and a significant improvement over already existing technologies.
Against this background it appears questionable if any patent for blended winglets can stand a court trial.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:26 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
Not sure about the U.S. patent law,but in Europe a patent can only be granted if the invention meets requirements such as novelty and a significant improvement over already existing technologies.
Against this background it appears questionable if any patent for blended winglets can stand a court trial.

Blended winglets offer at least a percent improvement over all other winglet designs currently tested. In aviation, that's extremely significant.

Tom.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:50 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
Not sure about the U.S. patent law,but in Europe a patent can only be granted if the invention meets requirements such as novelty and a significant improvement over already existing technologies.

US patent law is quite far outside of world norms in a number of areas, but this is one area where they are pretty similar. The three basic elements of patentability in the States are patentable subject matter (not a problem here - we talk about this in industries like software and biotech), novelty and nonobviousness (which is more or less your improvement over existing technology). My gut impression - not knowing the technical side of it very well - is that API has an obviousness problem.
 
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zeke
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:57 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 15):

Blended winglets offer at least a percent improvement over all other winglet designs currently tested. In aviation, that's extremely significant.

NASA test flew what looks like a blended winglet on the KC-135 in the late 1970s, that is over 30 years ago. Wind tunnel results showed a 6% improvement, flight testing showed a 6.5% improvement.



The report is in the public domain http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/ca...asa.gov/19810010485_1981010485.pdf
 
mffoda
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:22 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
Against this background it appears questionable if any patent for blended winglets can stand a court trial.

You may want to have a look at the recent PW / RR patent cases. Similar ??

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
My gut impression - not knowing the technical side of it very well - is that API has an obviousness problem.

Mine is exactly opposite... And the timing is interesting? The A320 sharklet only version is supposed to enter service first with just the blended wing 2 years +/- before the neo. While still under patent protection? This alone could create production problems for the neo.

It seems to me, that an agreement between Airbus and API wasn't reached and that this is another way to negotiate a faster possibly more favorable agreement with API...   
 
Wsp
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:25 pm

Here is a link to the patent
http://www.scribd.com/doc/74482771/Blended-winglet-US-patent-5348253

Seems like a optimization of an aircraft surface using textbook methods. There must be hundreds of spots on the fuselage on modern aircraft that have been over the years reshaped for better aerodynamics using the same formulas. Do they file a patent whenever someone takes what used to be a sharp edge and turns it into a continuous transition?
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:49 pm

Quoting Wsp (Reply 19):
Seems like a optimization of an aircraft surface using textbook methods. There must be hundreds of spots on the fuselage on modern aircraft that have been over the years reshaped for better aerodynamics using the same formulas. Do they file a patent whenever someone takes what used to be a sharp edge and turns it into a continuous transition?

Implementing "textbook methods" has practical limitations in the real world. When one of those limitations is overcome in a new and innovative way, that is patentable IP. Your link describes exactly how API's winglet differs from existing winglet technology.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
US patent law is quite far outside of world norms in a number of areas, but this is one area where they are pretty similar.

There has been some recent legislation to better align U.S. patent law with international standards:

http://www.metroplextbc.org/index.ph...il&category=Latest%20News&refno=93
 
LN-KGL
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:50 pm

I find it interesting that someone can get a patent on one of the laws of nature - how the air flows over a wing. Too many of today's patents tends more to impede than to promote development.
 
ytz
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:56 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
Not sure about the U.S. patent law,but in Europe a patent can only be granted if the invention meets requirements such as novelty and a significant improvement over already existing technologies.
Against this background it appears questionable if any patent for blended winglets can stand a court trial.

Given the recent community design patent that Apple got for a rectangular computer, I'm almost wondering if Airbus could pull off the same thing with winglets.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:14 pm

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 20):
There has been some recent legislation to better align U.S. patent law with international standards:

Yup, and it'll help a lot.

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 21):
I find it interesting that someone can get a patent on one of the laws of nature

I don't see how this is a patent on a law of nature any more than a patent on, for instance, a waterwheel is. That arguably "patents gravity" because gravity makes it work.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:17 pm

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 21):
I find it interesting that someone can get a patent on one of the laws of nature - how the air flows over a wing.

API didn't patent a law of nature. They patented a novel way to better optimize how a machine performs. Are you suggesting that any innovation which can be analyzed using physical laws cannot/should not be patented?

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 21):
Too many of today's patents tends more to impede than to promote development.

How does APIs patent impede development? If Airbus had to recognized the patent, then they would have to go find a new way to achieve the same benefit. Then, we would be living in a world where we have blended winglets and xyz winglets. That is promotion of development.

API's patent would only impede development if it stopped Airbus from being able to investigate some other way to reduce wingtip drag. It does no such thing.
 
Wsp
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:16 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 20):
When one of those limitations is overcome in a new and innovative way, that is patentable IP.

What specific limitation of textbook aerodynamic engineering was overcome here?

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 20):
Your link describes exactly how API's winglet differs from existing winglet technology.

That the winglets are different doesn't make them patentable.

My question (and from what I understand one of the questions for the jury) is if combining existing winglet concepts with rounded surfaces was something that wasn't obvious to a person skilled in the art.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:31 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
My gut impression - not knowing the technical side of it very well - is that API has an obviousness problem.

I disagree. If it was that obvious, it wouldn't have taken decades for them to show up in commercial service.

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 21):
I find it interesting that someone can get a patent on one of the laws of nature - how the air flows over a wing.

That's not what they patented. If you find a way to solve, for example, the Navier-Stokes equations more efficiently that has huge IP value...what you patent is the way you do the solution, not the physics equations you're solving.

Quoting zeke (Reply 17):
NASA test flew what looks like a blended winglet on the KC-135 in the late 1970s, that is over 30 years ago. Wind tunnel results showed a 6% improvement, flight testing showed a 6.5% improvement.

API must have something different than what NASA published or they'd have been dead in the water on the prior art search.

Quoting Wsp (Reply 25):
Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 20):
When one of those limitations is overcome in a new and innovative way, that is patentable IP.

What specific limitation of textbook aerodynamic engineering was overcome here?

OEM's had been trying to get blended winglets to pay for themselves for years. Boeing didn't think they'd work, which is why API formed in the first place.

Quoting Wsp (Reply 25):
Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 20):
Your link describes exactly how API's winglet differs from existing winglet technology.

That the winglets are different doesn't make them patentable.

Not by itself, but it's a crucial step up.

Quoting Wsp (Reply 25):
My question (and from what I understand one of the questions for the jury) is if combining existing winglet concepts with rounded surfaces was something that wasn't obvious to a person skilled in the art.

That's not what they pantented. The specific claims in this patent are related to exactly how you determine what the appropriate transition is. Not all blended winglets would fall under this patent, but certain ones that exploit the same design techniques (the hard part of winglets in the first place) would.

Tom.
 
LN-KGL
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:40 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 24):
API didn't patent a law of nature. They patented a novel way to better optimize how a machine performs. Are you suggesting that any innovation which can be analyzed using physical laws cannot/should not be patented?

No dfwrevolution, API has a patent for minimizing the drag, not better optimize the performance provided you have a curved transition between the wing and the vertical wingtip device:

Quote:
US Patent 5,348,253
,,, to achieve minimum induced drag ...

In other words, if you develope a device with a vertical part and a curved continous transition from the wing surface that is better performing than the blended winglet you may be breaching this patent.

It's not only API that uses a wide brush to paint their "discovery" - Boeing uses an even wider brush to cover the raked wingtip with a patent (US Patent 6,089,502) - again a curved transition between the wing and the wing tip in the horizontal plane - and the wing tip front end can be straight or curved.

The only light in the tunnel is that the blended winglet patent expires on 1 February 2013, for the blunt leading edge raked wingtips patent to expire we have to wait until 12 June 2018. Until that happens the much needed search for better performance is more and less put on hold.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:54 am

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
Quoting garpd (Reply 4):
I can see API's point of view. Put the API winglet and the Airbus sharklet side by side and they look identical.

- If you follow the route to the most effective aerodynamic design they will do.

If someone else owns the patent, it doesn't matter. If Airbus's design is close enough to API's design for the blended winglets, then Airbus either pays royalties or the infringe on the patent, and can be sued. This suit by Airbus is a shot across API's bow, in effect saying "we are so big we will just keep you tied up in court, and you can do nothing about it".

Quoting bringiton (Reply 7):
They have to look at technology aspect etc , side by side none can tell the difference between airbus and boeing products

Just because they look similar doesn't mean they are the same. But they do have to be different enough to legally be outside the patent held by API.

Quoting hb88 (Reply 13):
Quoting Dash8Driver16 (Reply 12):

Dash8Driver16 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted Sat Dec 3 2011 20:52:35 your local time (52 minutes 27 secs ago) and read 383 times:

Professor Gratzer has done the math and design for blended winglets to many different aircraft including the 320 most likely at the behest of airbus at least 7 years ago.


Judging from the grounds of the complaint, he was one of many working on blended winglets over the years.

This is what I think is the real problem. Airbus had flight tested blended winglets on the A-320 a few years ago, then just dropped them saying they were not efficent enough. The real reason may have been Airbus simply did not want to have to pay royalties to API.

Quoting zeke (Reply 17):
NASA test flew what looks like a blended winglet on the KC-135 in the late 1970s, that is over 30 years ago. Wind tunnel results showed a 6% improvement, flight testing showed a 6.5% improvement.

This was also about the time the USAF was evaluating the CFM-56 reengining program, which saved even more fuel, and greatly improved the performance of the KC-135 over the J-57 (JT-3C) engines it already had. I remember we (at the squadron level) were getting periodic updates on the NASA program. IIRC, some of the different winglet configuerations (tilt angle) presented flutter problems, others did not. The different winglets tested all added significant weight to the wingtip, I forget how much weight, but it was much more than what the blended winglets of the B-737NG weighs today. Then agasin, of course this was back in 1979 and 1980. None of the winglets tested on the KC-135 (tail # 55-3129) were what we call "blended" today. They did not have a rounded radious that "bent" the wing tip upward. They were almost squared off, and that created differing pressures.

Zeke, here is a little better picture with a little more detail than the picture you posted. You can see the tufts being blown, but in this pic the airplane is not actually flying. There is a big fan in front of the wing, but not in the picture, so this was a ground test.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:87008main_TF-2004-15_popup1.jpg

BTW, for those that do not understand the long narrow nose on the KC-135, it houses flight test instruments and at the very point of the nose is an accurate TAS system. Other instruments are along the spire. For this flight testing the APN-59E radar was removed, so the airplane actually had no radar installed and the chase airplane had to provide radar avaodence of weather if needed.
 
LN-KGL
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:14 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 28):
They did not have a rounded radious that "bent" the wing tip upward. They were almost squared off, and that created differing pressures.

Even though NASA did all the science for KC-135, Boeing managed to patent that too in 1980:
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4205810.pdf
 
tommytoyz
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:24 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 28):
This suit by Airbus is a shot across API's bow, in effect saying "we are so big we will just keep you tied up in court, and you can do nothing about it".

I see it differently. API is a serious threat to Airbus, because API may be able to block sales of A320s with their new wingtip, like Apple was able to block Samsung selling it's tablet due to patent infringement

I think Airbus filed this complaint out of self protection. They were afraid this issue was going to end up in court and need this resolved as soon as possible. So Airbus started to roll the legal ball now, rather than wait till just before first delivery and maybe risk API being able to block deliveries via a court order.
 
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kanban
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:43 am

So if Airbus paid the royalities for the next 14 months, what would that cost them vs. all the lawyers tied up in a lawsuit whose outcome is a toss up.
 
AngMoh
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:47 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 30):
I see it differently. API is a serious threat to Airbus, because API may be able to block sales of A320s with their new wingtip, like Apple was able to block Samsung selling it's tablet due to patent infringement

I think Airbus filed this complaint out of self protection. They were afraid this issue was going to end up in court and need this resolved as soon as possible. So Airbus started to roll the legal ball now, rather than wait till just before first delivery and maybe risk API being able to block deliveries via a court order.

API is not going to block the sale - but they will try to collect the maximum amount of royalties from Airbus. The Airbus suit is just one small step in the whole negotiation process to minimize of avoid this payment. A patent portfolio's main purpose is a negotiation tool. Lawyers love it: there is a lot of money to be made.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:53 am

I seem to recall the original sharklets being smaller and having much more pointed tips. It will be interesting to compare the API test units used on the 320 to the sharklets.

That API actually tested their winglets on a 320 has the potential of making this into a similar situation Ford was in with the intermittent wipers.

I suspect the sharklets will have to be shown they are significantly different in form and/or function for this to quickly go away.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:08 am

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 27):
API has a patent for minimizing the drag, not better optimize the performance provided you have a curved transition between the wing and the vertical wingtip device:

No. Read Claim 1. He claims "a blended winglet" - a machine. Machines are unquestionably patentable. The part you quoted explains how the cant angle is selected.

As I said, there may be some nonobviousness or novelty problems with this patent, but it's silly to argue that it's not patentable subject matter. Machines have always been patentable.
 
LN-KGL
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:23 am



I have put a blended winglet side by side with the newly installed on the A320 prototype, and there are indeed differences. The width of the devices are different (the length of the two red lines I have inserted are identical), the turn on the top of the sharklet is sharper, and for the shadows below the devices it looks like the turn radius from horizontal to vertical is larger for the sharklet.

I have used the following magnificent photos to make the illustration above:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Manuel EstévezR-MaferSpotting
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eurospot

 
BMI727
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:34 am

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 27):
In other words, if you develope a device with a vertical part and a curved continous transition from the wing surface that is better performing than the blended winglet you may be breaching this patent.

Depends on how it is curved. If I design a winglet with a new type of curve that I think works better, I can try to patent that as an improvement. After that it would have to be fought out by the courts.

Quoting AngMoh (Reply 32):
API is not going to block the sale - but they will try to collect the maximum amount of royalties from Airbus.

And they have to. If API does not fight Airbus on this, API could open themselves up to litigation from Boeing.

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 35):
I have put a blended winglet side by side with the newly installed on the A320 prototype, and there are indeed differences.

I don't think you can patent dimensions. There has to be actual improvement.
 
soon7x7
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:07 am

While many airframes fly the "concept" of wing-lets, many (all) helicopter manufacturers do have rotor blades on their products...were similar lawsuits entertained during the inception of new chopper designs by upcoming manufacturers?...can't remember any...A/bus has a weak argument here...nice try.

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 35):


Good comparison however one would naturally expect minute changes however the "blended" concept is where both are identical unlike 747, early Gulfstream G2b's, and a340 series winglets. If I were to hazard a guess on the basis of the lawsuit it would be the blend aspect.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:57 am

Quoting AngMoh (Reply 32):
API is not going to block the sal

If the dispute is not resolved by then and Airbus refuses to pay, API would indeed try to make it as painful as possible for Airbus and ask the court for an injunction. Whether or not a court would grant it, is another question. If a court does grant it, Airbus would have to settle with API immediately.
 
AngMoh
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RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:03 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 38):
If the dispute is not resolved by then and Airbus refuses to pay, API would indeed try to make it as painful as possible for Airbus and ask the court for an injunction. Whether or not a court would grant it, is another question. If a court does grant it, Airbus would have to settle with API immediately.

And that is why it will never block the sale! No sale, no money for API. They are going to settle in the end. This is all part of the tango towards a contract.
 
aklrno
Posts: 1606
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:18 pm

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:52 am

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 35):
I have put a blended winglet side by side with the newly installed on the A320 prototype, and there are indeed differences. The width of the devices are different (the length of the two red lines I have inserted are identical), the turn on the top of the sharklet is sharper, and for the shadows below the devices it looks like the turn radius from horizontal to vertical is larger for the sharklet.

So if I want to copy someone's patented invention allI have to do is change the dimensions? In the patent in question it clearly states that the dimensions can be anything that is consistent with the design goals. All the formulae are intended to suggest the optimal dimensions which will vary with every application.

I believe the lawsuit is intended to invalidate the patent before the patent holder can sue for infringement. Don't hold your breath for this to be settled soon.

Opinion offered by the holder of one (so far) insignificant patent.
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8573
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:59 am

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 35):
I have put a blended winglet side by side with the newly installed on the A320 prototype, and there are indeed differences. The width of the devices are different (the length of the two red lines I have inserted are identical), the turn on the top of the sharklet is sharper, and for the shadows below the devices it looks like the turn radius from horizontal to vertical is larger for the sharklet.

There can be *huge* differences and still infringe the patent...the patent claims are all about how you design the winglet and there's a range in there. Two different aircraft might be on totally opposite sides in terms of result but if they used the methods outlined in the patent they could be infringing.

Tom.
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:12 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 41):
outlined in the patent

I'd bet a weakened US dollar that it refers to "the blend" aspect...g
blended
nonblended
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12100
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Quoting AngMoh (Reply 39):
And that is why it will never block the sale! No sale, no money for API. They are going to settle in the end. This is all part of the tango towards a contract.

API is apparently not receiving any money from Airbus now, so no money for API because of blocked sales would just be the status quo. On the other hand, no deliveries means no money for Airbus and additional costs in late fees. While Airbus would obviously survive, it would force Airbus to settle, not API to settle. Which is why API would probably go down that course if they can not come to an agreement beforehand.

[Edited 2011-12-04 07:25:28]
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8573
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:07 pm

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 42):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 41):
outlined in the patent

I'd bet a weakened US dollar that it refers to "the blend" aspect...

Exactly. Although there are multiple claims in the patent, the most substantial and detailed ones are about how you design the blend.

Tom.
 
2175301
Posts: 2105
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:19 am

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:34 am

I wonder how many of you have filed for a patent - or as I have seriously considered doing so to the point that I spent money getting appropriate legal advice (and while I believe that my ideas are indeed patentable - that they may not be worth patenting at this point as the market value of the item is low).

The fact that the patent was granted means that the petitioner had to overcome a variety of objections of being too similar to other patents, etc - including the possibility of other parties objecting during the review period. While a patent holder may still have to defend their patent in court - the presumption is that the patent is valid because of this review process.

I also see this as an Airbus negotiating tactic; and they have to provide solid evidence that the Patent Review Process missed something.

Have a great day,
 
Wsp
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:43 am

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:10 am

Quoting 2175301 (Reply 45):
The fact that the patent was granted means that the petitioner had to overcome a variety of objections of being too similar to other patents, etc - including the possibility of other parties objecting during the review period. While a patent holder may still have to defend their patent in court - the presumption is that the patent is valid because of this review process.

Once patents go to trial they seem to fall apart quickly under higher scrutiny. In the current Oracle vs. Google lawsuit 92% of the independent claims that were re-examined so far were rejected (http://groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110823105337649).
 
parapente
Posts: 3061
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:42 pm

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:33 am

Well it starts to make sense of the strange relationship Airbus seemed to have with API. This one will be interesting to watch.
 
mffoda
Posts: 1099
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:09 pm

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:06 pm

Here's an update from API on the the lawsuit.

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/07/410...ion-partners-addresses-airbus.html

Sounds like the Sharklet is API designed?
 
r2rho
Posts: 3096
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:13 pm

RE: Airbus Sues API Over Winglet Royalties

Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:35 pm

Quoting mffoda (Reply 48):
Sounds like the Sharklet is API designed?

I get lost with all the different winglets that Airbus has tested, but it has always been my understanding that this last version tested in 2009, the one that passed the efficiency test and is now introduced as "sharklets", was an API design, not an Airbus one.

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