Bell, Eurocopter Both Claim Victory in Patent Lawsuit

 - February 2, 2012, 3:20 PM
The Federal Court of Canada found that the skid gear on the two prototypes of the Bell 429 infringed Eurocopter’s patent. That gear is not on production Bell 429s.

Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter both claimed victory in a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada on Tuesday. The case centered around a Eurocopter-patented landing gear design that was apparently used on two Bell 429 prototypes.

While the court dismissed 15 of the 16 claims filed against Bell, it did find that the Texas-based company violated Eurocopter’s patent on the two 429 prototypes. However, Bell noted, “This original skid gear was never placed into production or sold to a customer.”

Eurocopter countered that Bell changed the 429’s gear design only after the European manufacturer filed the case in May 2008. Quoting the ruling, Eurocopter said Bell “decided to [copy the] new patented technology” and its overall conduct “is…reprehensible and constitutes a callous disregard for the rights of Eurocopter.”

Bell president and CEO John Garrison said, “Integrity is at the core of who we are as a company and what we believe. Bell Helicopter would never knowingly violate the intellectual property of others.” Bell intends to appeal any findings of the court that are contrary to this, a Bell spokesman added.