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Fri, May 11, 2012

Oh No They Didn't! FlightPrep Sues Jepp Over Patent Infringement

Last Year's 'Weirdest Story Of The Year' Returns With A Vengeance

ANN has learned that the ever-litigious folks at FlightPrep filed suit, late in 2011, against Jeppesen Sanderson, in the latest skirmish in their war to collect fees over a patent that they won under 'controversial' circumstances.

Details are kind of scarce right now, and obviously this story has been hushed up for several months, but we have confirmed that FlightPrep sued Jepp in the State Of Oregon, in December of 2011 (on or about the 19th), claiming jurisdiction in their quest to collect damages for infringement of the patents that started an industry-wide IP war in the latter part of 2010.

Late in '10, FlightPrep scared runwayfinder.com into (then) shuttering its sight after filing a lawsuit claiming over $3 million a month in damages, and threatening several others with similar efforts. FlightPrep lost the PR war in record time and a number of agreements were reportedly struck in which the furor was allowed to settle down... until now. At that time, industry reaction was sharply negative as a number of educated sources indicated that the FlightPrep patent was seen to be "broad and over-reaching."

Further; a number of examples of online flight planning utilities were brought to light that showed what appeared to be clear evidence of 'prior art' and IP created prior to the earliest initiation of a patent application by FlightPrep's Stenbock & Everson. In late 2010, both industry giant Jeppesen and their client AOPA (which, at that time, had a 'me-too' flight planning utility built by Jepp) denied FlightPrep's attempts to seek compensation... and decided that their operations did NOT infringe on the controversial FlightPrep patent and thereafter refusing FlightPrep's attempts to contact them.

But now the genie is out of the bottle and a monstrous battle may be waged from here on out. Jepp has considerable resources and the supportive legal smarts inherent in being a Boeing company... and that is a considerable issue for ANY lawyer to face. But FlightPrep wants bucks and Jepp/Boeing most assuredly has them... if they prevail.

ANN is looking over a few legal docs that we've obtained and will be filing additional detail shortly.... but be advised that this story is back... and NOT in a good way.

FMI: www.jeppesen.com

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