A French court recently ruled that the Bell 429 light twin helicopter production skid gear does not infringe Eurocopter’s landing skid gear patent, following a complaint filed by the European helicopter manufacturer.
“Integrity is woven into the fiber of our company,” said Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison, praising the decision. The French court also ordered Eurocopter to pay Bell Helicopter and Bell Canada, each, the sum of €65,000 ($85,000) in costs. A spokesperson for the European manufacturer told AIN Eurocopter now plans to lodge an appeal.
In addition, an infringement suit is going on in North America. In January, the federal court of Canada ruled that Bell Helicopter did infringe on a patent for the EC120 and EC130 landing gear. In the ruling, the court found Bell had “callous disregard for the rights of Eurocopter.” However, it also ruled that the Bell 429’s current production design does not infringe the patent. The Canadian court nevertheless found the development of the production gear would not have been possible without the development of the prototype gear that was similar to the EC120/130’s.