Thud. A pile of legal papers landed on the SRAM booth on the first day of the show. It was an injunction, instigated by Shimano. Shimano claims SRAM's cassettes infringe Shimano patents. A full hearing will not take place until the end of September, leaving SRAM with little product at Eurobike and IFMA Koln. The injunction is valid in Germany only.

SRAM pulls triggers (and cassettes) at Eurobike

In June, Shimano was successful in halting SRAM’s use of the Powerglide name in Germany and now the Japanese component maker has prevented SRAM from promoting or selling any of its cassettes for the duration of the German trade shows.

The new injunction was granted following a preliminary hearing at a Munich court. The full hearing is not expected for 4+ weeks.

A statement from Shimano said:

"Shimano is confident that this decision of the Munich Court will receive substantial attention in the market place, not only by manufacturers, but also, in particular, by dealers."

SRAM staffers were today continuing to cover the catalogue pix of triggers and cassettes with stickers. The previous day the product posters had to come down.

This afternoon SRAM issued a combined press release and letter to its customers at the show, pledging to fight the injunction, confident of winning.

Shimano, said SRAM’s release, had been "hasty" and "secretive" in seeking the injunction.

This isn’t the first time SRAM and Shimano have come to blows. The European commission received an anti-dumping complaint against Shimano internal hubs in July 2000. It had been lodged by SRAM. This was upheld in October 2001. SRAM welcomed the duty on but didn’t feel it was punitive enough.

Here’s SRAM’s full statement, released today:

The following is an update on the status of the patent litigation in Germany between Shimano and SRAM Deutschland with respect to SRAM’s X-7 trigger shifters.

As you may know, on August 11th 2003 the Munich District Court granted a preliminary injunction preventing SRAM Deutschland and SRAM Europe from selling X-7 trigger shifters in Germany. This ruling does not affect any SRAM triggers that are sold outside of Germany. In designing its trigger shifters, SRAM took careful measures to avoid Shimano’s intellectal property. SRAM believes the court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction was hasty. This preliminary injunction was obtained secretly by Shimano without any notice to SRAM or opportunity by SRAM to state its position. Once all the facts are heard before the court, SRAM believes that the court will rule that there is no infringement. This is a potentially confusing matter. Therefore, SRAM wants to be very clear with you about what happens next. 1. SRAM has stopped shipping tigger shifters into Germany, and will not offer the shifters for sale as long as the injunction is enforced. 2. A hearing before the Munich Court is currently being scheduled. At that hearing, SRAM will, for the first time, be able to defend itself against Shimano’s accusations of patent infringement and move towards having the injunction lifted. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this hearing will take place beofre late September of 2003. 3. SRAM will attempt to resolve this issue amicably with Shimano.

SRAM appreciates our customers support and business. We are confident in our trigger design and that the German courts will ultimately determine that it does not infringe upon any Shimano patent. In the event that a court determines that a customer owes damages to Shimano related to this patent case, SRAM will either reimburse the customer for thpse damages, or pay Shimano directly.

Here’s Shimano’s full statement, also released today:

SRAM now bound by Court Judgment not to infringe Shimano’s patent for a

multistage sprocket assembly (Cassette Sprockets)

Following the decision of the Munich District Court I (Landgericht) of June 11, 2003 (docket Nr. 21 O 21210/00) in favour of Shimano, SRAM Deutschland GmbH, its director, Mr. Kai-Uwe Rüde, and SRAM Corporation Europe Livisham Limited are now effectively enjoined from marketing "Powerglide II" brand cassettes (sold under their 5.0 and 7.0 trademarks) in Germany. The Munich District Court I has held that SRAM’s products as mentioned above constitute an infringement of Shimano’s European Patent 0 313 345, protecting Shimano’s well-known HYPER GLIDE-technology. SRAM, as well as the other defendants, have filed an appeal against the decision with the Munich Appeal Court (Oberlandesgericht) under docket Nr. 6 U 4058/03 on August 8, 2003. The same day, SRAM has also filed for a stay of execution of the enforcement. In this regard, Shimano has been advised by its lawyers that a stay of execution is only granted in extremely rare and exceptional cases. Shimano therefore expects that SRAM will continue to be bound by the court’s injunctive order. After the District Court’s decision was served on SRAM and the other defendants on July 18, 2003 and Shimano has posted the necessary security deposit on August 6, 2003, SRAM and the other defendants are now bound by the Court’s order not to manufacture, offer, sell, market, and use the "Powerglide II" brand cassettes (5.0 and 7.0) in Germany. The Court order also prevents SRAM from importing these cassettes into Germany for any of the above-mentioned purposes. Shimano is confident that this decision of the Munich Court will receive substantial attention in the market place,

not only by manufacturers, but also, in particular, by dealers

The ruling against SRAM was the first decision of the Munich District Court against companies which do not respect Shimano’s intellectual property rights. On July 16, 2003, the court rendered a decision against Point bike innovation GmbH and its directors (docket Nr. 21 O 7147/01) finding an infringement of Shimano’s European patent 0 313 345. Shimano intends to enforce this decision as well in order to protect its legal rights.

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