Published in Industry Updates on September 23, 2016
Update October 9th, 2016: Full information on the patent case is available directly from the European Patent Office. See the legal status here and all documents relating to patent number 2287073 here.
Earlier this week we reported on a press release from Indoor Skydiving Germany (ISG) that highlighted the conclusion of a European Patent Case against iFLY/SkyVenture. Today sees additional developments with a press release from iFLY. The overall content of each release differs, but both refer to a conclusion on iFLY's European Patent 2287073 as having been "modified" or "restricted":
The tone of each release differed as can be seen in the following highlights:
In December 2014, iFLY sued ISG in Germany based on iFLY´s new European Patent No. EP 2 287 073 and claimed that ISG infringed the iFLY patent. On 19 September 2016, the European Patent Office decided that the Patent No. EP 2 287 073 is not valid and can only be upheld with significant restrictions. The newly restricted version cannot be infringed by ISG.
The decision of the European Patent Office on 19 September 2016 is in line with a number of prior decisions against iFLY’s repeated attempts to extend their original patents by applying for divisional applications/utility models. (see for example T1196/11).
“We are happy about the ruling by the European Patent Office”, says Boris Nebe, CEO of ISG. “And it shows once more that iFLY´s repeated attempts to unduly broaden their patents beyond the scope of the original application in order to catch our and our European competitor´s technologies are illicit and useless.
The full ISG press release can be found here.
In oral proceedings, the European Patent Office has upheld iFLY's European patent 2287073 as modified. Indoor Skydiving Germany's (ISG's) latest attempt to invalidate iFLY's patents has failed. iFLY's patents covering the key technologies which make vertical wind tunnels safe, cost effective entertainment remain valid and enforceable in Europe, as they are in dozens of other countries around the world. The company confirms that it will continue to aggressively protect its industry-changing technology anywhere it is challenged.
The EU Opposition division rejected ISG's novelty arguments and found that iFLY's claims were inventive over the prior art. "This determination by the European Patent Office shows that iFLY's foundational patents are valid and can withstand significant challenges not only in the US but also in the EU," said Alan Metni, CEO of iFLY. "We are gratified that the European Patent Office confirmed that our innovations were both novel and inventive." Metni added, "We will continue to pursue complete protection over the full scope of our invention in every jurisdiction where we operate and will continue to add to our claims through the open applications we have pending around the world, including in Europe."
The full iFLY press release can be found here.