Cervélo and Canyon reach patent-sharing agreement

The current Cervélo S3 is based on the SLC-SL predecessor, itself a 'Best Team Bike' winner in years past.

The current Cervélo S3 is based on the SLC-SL predecessor, itself a 'Best Team Bike' winner in years past. (Image credit: James Huang, Tech Editor)

Bicycle manufacturers Cervélo and Canyon have reached a settlement agreement in their dispute over the latter company's patented Maximus Seat Tube design, with the two companies agreeing to share certain design patents.

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While both sides have agreed to confidentiality regarding the exact terms of the settlement, a joint statement released by the two companies this week indicated that "constructive" discussions had resulted in an amicable agreement between them.

“We’re happy this matter is resolved, that’s good news for both companies and for consumers,” said Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo, while Canyon's Chief Executive Roman Arnold said: “After the long lasting lawsuit both sides can once again concentrate on what they can do best: build high class, innovative and trendsetting bicycles.”

Canyon had originally alleged that Cervélo had breached its patent on the Maximus Seat Tube in a number of the Canadian company's older R3, R3-SL and RS models of road bike.

Canyon had first employed the design in its own bikes in 2005, but Cervélo countered their assertions by citing frame designs from other manufacturers, including Klein's Q-Pro Carbon, that pre-dated Canyon's patent.

However in November last year the European Patent Office upheld the validity of Canyon's patent after clarification of their original patent terms. Following this decision Canyon filed its lawsuit at the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf, though the companies agreement has brought the legal proceedings to a close.

Despite the acrimony over the design it appears the settlement terms will help to forge a level of collaboration between the two. According to their joint statement Cervélo will be allowed to continue manufacturing frames using the design in question, while in return Canyon will have the right to use certain patents owned by Cervélo.

While details of the patents Cervélo will be asked to share remain secret for now, the settlement will no doubt benefit Canyon's efforts to make inroads into the lucrative time trial and triathlon sectors. Cervélo have held a stranglehold in those markets, but in recent years the German company have worked hard to refine the aerodynamics of their road and time trial bikes.

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