The ongoing legal wrangle between Canyon Bicycles GmbH and Cervélo may be coming to an end. This week, according to Canyon, the European Patent Office confirmed the validity of Canyon’s European patent (EP 1737724) for its ‘Maximus Seattube’.
The dispute between Canyon and Cervélo centres on seat tubes with a special load bearing design, such as Canyon’s Maximus Seattube. Here, the design ‘is characteristically flat on the side of the cycle’s chain rings.’
The dispute has been specifically concerned with Cervélo’s older R3, R3-SL and RS frames, which have a flattened seat tube on the chain side of the frame.
“We are now examining the possibility of further steps with regard to Cervélo,” said Dr Michael Kaiser, Canyon’s Head of R&D. “This applies in particular to the violation against our patent in other countries.”
However, it is understood that consumers shall not be affected, as dealers are not required to recall any older frames or necessarily comply with the ruling.
Since the ruling Cervélo has issued a statement:
‘In September the court in Düsseldorf made a ruling based on Claim 1 of the Canyon seat tube patent. Yesterday, the European Patent Office [EPO] declared Claim 1 invalid. They based this on the Barra patent from 1942, which already identified all features described in Claim 1. The EPO also accepted the Klein Q-Pro Carbon frame presented by Cervélo as evidence of a frame with flattening on the base of the seattube on the chain ring side.
‘The EPO would only allow Canyon to keep its patent after narrowing its scope. This narrower scope means the original Claim 1 on which the Düsseldorf court based its decision no longer exists, and we can now revert back to the court.
‘The EPO further stated that the features on the Litespeed Vortex and Gazelle ACC Pro, presented at the hearing by Cervélo, were of interest and could influence the outcome of this case if satisfactory evidence of first use can be presented. We have at this point received a letter from Litespeed confirming that this frame was produced before the patent date and are confident we will obtain similar evidence from Gazelle, so that even the more narrow version of Claim 1 will not hold up.
‘Due to publicity surrounding this case, several other manufacturers have come forward with frames showing prior use of the features described in the patent. Together with other evidence already in Cervélo’s possession but entered too late for yesterday’s hearing, this makes it unlikely that any part of the Claim 1 can survive in the long run. We would like to thank all our colleagues in the bike industry for their continued support.
‘We agree with Canyon on one thing, which is that this case will have no effect on consumers.’