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Shimano injunction overturned in alleged patent infringement case
By Andrew Juskaitis
Just 48 hours from the August 28 opening of this year’s Eurobike trade show, Shimano lawyers filed an injunction against the SRAM corporation forbidding the manufacturer from exhibiting and distributing its new trigger-shifter line in Germany. Caught by surprise, SRAM scrambled to amend its ’04 catalogs and pull all of its trigger-shifter technology from its display at the trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
For almost three long months SRAM waited with bated breath to see if the German court would interpret its trigger shifter as being an infringement on Shimano’s RapidFire Plus patents. If so, SRAM would not allowed to sell its trigger shifter in Germany (a significant market for the manufacturer).
We just received this update from SRAM regarding the matter:
On November 13, 2003, the Munich District Court set aside Shimano’s preliminary injunction against SRAM’s X-series trigger shifters. This was done through a standard opposition brought by SRAM. Shimano’s action now stands overturned and anyone in Germany is again free to purchase, assemble, use, advertise, ride or race with SRAM X-series trigger shifters.Shimano obtained the preliminary injunction through a legal tactic that initially excluded SRAM’s ability to present our case before the court made their decision. In our opinion it is not surprising that Shimano chose this course of action, which proved to be disruptive to the market. It is consistent with Shimano’s behavior to limit choice in the market and force the use of their products.SRAM’s policy is to take responsibility for our products. That includes indemnifying customers in the event that a court awards patent damages due to the use of a SRAM product. As we have publicly stated and committed to this policy, Shimano’s attempts to intimidate our customers can only be seen as harassment and attempting to limit choice.We presume that Shimano will continue a legal action against SRAM products, but now it will be done through the process of an open trial in which SRAM has equal opportunity to present our opinions. We hope that Shimano will stop attacking customers and focus their talent and resources on competition and growing the bike industry as a whole.SRAM appreciates our customer’s business and also their support of X-series trigger design. SRAM will continue to design innovative performance products that provide customer choice.