Thursday, 11 February 2016

AP Racing Prevails in Brake Technology Patent Case

From a press release issued for AP:

In a landmark legal case, AP Racing has been awarded £570,660 in damages, costs and interest following a ruling that Alcon Components Limited infringed the company's patent protecting the innovative Radi-CAL™ concept for motorsport brake calipers.
As the highest ever level of damages awarded in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the case centred around a range of brake calipers introduced and patented in 2007. This Radi-CAL™ design made a major innovative step forward in brake caliper technology within the motorsport industry, and was used by teams in Formula 3, NASCAR® and subsequently Formula 1®. However, rival Alcon Components introduced a similar design in 2009.
As one of the world's leaders in brake technology, AP Racing has a history of design and innovation that dates back to the 1960s, and the company believes the ruling underlines the value of investment in research and development. AP Racing will always look to protect its intellectual property against infringement by competitors, using the support of the courts if necessary.
Following an initial trial in 2012, and a subsequent hearing in the Court of Appeal in 2013, a ruling was made in January 2014 confirming that the patent was valid and infringed, allowing the UK based company to pursue financial compensation and stop Alcon manufacturing more of the calipers.
Commenting on the award AP Racing managing director, Charles Bolton, said: 'Innovation is vital for the development of new technology, and patent infringement is always an uncompetitive answer. The Court's decision sends a clear message to the industry that the courts will not tolerate intellectual property infringement. AP Racing will always act to protect its intellectual property rights around the world, in order to safeguard our research and development work going forward'. 
Offering less mass, improved rigidity and better cooling characteristics than conventional brake caliper designs, the Radi-CAL™ concept represented a major innovation in braking technology when it was introduced. The patented design was first developed by AP Racing in 2007, since then the company has produced over 80 different Radi-CAL™ caliper designs. AP Racing continues to refine the design, and the concept is protected by patents across Europe and in numerous other countries including the USA, China and Japan.

The History of Patent Annuities

Who'd have thought patent annuities could be so interesting? I was fascinated when my old friend and running companion James Olcott launched a blog telling a weekly story about his father, Bernard. Readers of this blog will of course have little or no interest in Bernard's many marriages, the family history, the Third Avenue El or many of the other matters with which James has regaled readers - well, actually, you will be interested in all those things, but as we are approaching this from the intellectual property side they should be put to one side ... and you should read about patent annuities. Having met Bernard, who died a few years ago, I have been reading avidly and waiting eagerly for the new week's instalment (which appears on Thursday evenings UK time).

James has been extremely informative about New York in the fifties and sixties, long before I visited the place, and he's made me realise how much has changed in the world during my lifetime. Anyone with an interest in the patents field will also learn (from some of the postings) how much has changed in the past 50 or 60 years. Bernard was a serious inventor, and it was his technical background that brought him (via evening classes) to the law, to patent practice, to computers and thence to automating the payment of patent annuities. Intellectual property aficionados will enjoy reading about his discussions with Marks & Clerk, which led not to collaboration but to the creation of CPA with which Olcott International remains in competition (or vice versa), and other reminiscences about the patent world of years ago. When I teach students, or train lawyers, about intellectual property, I constantly remind myself that newcomers to the subject are picking it up as it is: I feel a duty to ensure that they understand also what it used to be like, so they can understand how it came to be what it is now - and, I hope, to recognise not only those respects in which it is superior but also those respects in which it used to be better. James's work also serves to maintain that important perspective.

There's more to write about this subject - but it's for a different blog, I think ... let's try to keep this one for intellectual property.

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