Five employees of Neobike of Taiwan have been sentenced to jail for five months apiece for stealing the 'intellectual property rights' of folding bike specialist Dahon of California

Folding bike copyists to be jailed

The case was started ten years ago by Dahon but it has taken this long to wend its way through the tortuous Taiwanese legal system.

All five defendants in the criminal case were sentenced to five months in jail, and just in time for the Taipei Cycle show which starts tomorrow! Neobike International Co. Ltd. is one of the exhibitors at this Taiwanese trade show.

The verdict, delivered by Taiwan’s highest court, is final, and opens the door for Dahon to pursue damages in a civil suit.

Neobike, based in Taiwan, manufactures folding bicycles and was founded by three Dahon employees that left together.

“We feel a sense of gratification that after ten years of foot-dragging by the Taiwan legal system, some measure of justice has been served,” said Dr. David Hon, Dahon president.

“Technology is the lifeblood of [the] bicycle industry. Without technology and innovation, we would all be selling commodity products with little or no profit. We have over forty engineers and technicians in our R&D department and this court verdict gives us the faith to continue investing in this part of our business.”

Three of the five guilty defendants are former Dahon employees. A fourth was the major financial backer of Neobike. The guilty include Mr. J.C. Hsiao, Neobike general manager, who was the former head of R&D and former head of production at Neobike. Dahon had accused the Neobike founders of taking Dahon’s technology when they left Dahon to form Neobike. This technology served as the basis for the first Neobike folding bicycle, claimed Dahon.

Dahon is a registered trademark of Dahon California Inc.

Neobike holds the licence to manufacture and market Brompton folding bikes in the Far East but Brompton inventor Andrew Ritchie told this deal was "under review" and the news of the jailings would make severing ties easier.

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