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Airbus Seeks To Avoid Patent Royalties On Winglets

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.

FMI: www.txwd.uscourts.gov

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