Planemaker Sues Aviation Partners Saying Patent Is Invalid
Airbus has filed a lawsuit in Austin, TX, against Boeing partner
Aviation Partners Inc., claiming its patent on winglets is invalid,
and that the European planemaker should not have to pay royalties
for the "sharklets" it plans to use on the A320neo aircraft.
Aviation Partners, a privately-held company, was granted a
patent in 1994 for "blended winglets", and joined forces with
Boeing in 1999 to use the devices on Boeing airliners, according to
a report from Bloomberg. The company has insisted that Airbus pay
royalties to use the devices on its aircraft.
Airbus holds that API's "threats" place the European planemaker
at a "competitive disadvantage." It has not named Boeing in the
lawsuit. Airbus recently completed the first flight of an A320
outfitted with the 'sharklets', which it mentions in all marketing
materials related to the A320neo. The devices reportedly reduce
fuel burn by 3.5 percent.