Dave Weagle to sue Trek over Split Pivot ‘infringement’

It’s been going back and forth for a while, but it seems that Dave Weagle will be having his day in court over allegations that Trek’s Active Braking Pivot suspension design infringes upon two of his Split Pivot patents.

Both Trek and Dave Weagle have separate patents on their suspension designs, both of which use concentric dropout pivot points.

However, Dave Weagle has filed a legal complaint in Trek’s home state of Wisconsin claiming that their system infringes two of his patents, asking for compensation “in no event less than a reasonable royalty”, with an additional demand that Trek cease to use the design.

Dave Weagle, designer of the Split Pivot system.

According to legal documents posted on Bicycle Retailer’s story, in early 2007 Dave Weagle had approached Trek with a proposal to work together with a suspension system. It’s stated that after both parties signed a non-disclosure agreement, he emailed a Powerpoint presentation containing details and diagrams of his then ‘Patent Pending’ Split Pivot design to Trek.

He alleges that around a month after receiving his presentation on the Split Pivot system, Trek filed a patent application which would later be granted as the ABP patent.

Trek are quoted as saying that they’ll fight the suit, although they still have a number of weeks before they must reply.

Both patents mention the design’s ability to isolate braking forces from the suspension, but both differ in specified details. Trek’s (granted 23rd November 2010) mentions tyre contact patch in-depth while Weagle’s (granted 18th May 2010) contains a lot of detail on instant pivot point location – we’re no patent lawyers however.

The concentric pivot system is nothing new in itself, having been used on the Crestone Peak Super Active Suspension bike back in the 1990s. Indeed, Trek’s patent counsel is alleged to have sent an email to the prosecuting attorney on the Split Pivot Patents pointing out this ‘prior art’, but Weagle’s Split Pivot patents were still granted.

For the full story and links to the various patents and court document, head to the Bicycle Retailer story

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