AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In oral proceedings, the European Patent Office has upheld iFLY's European patent 2287073 as modified. Indoor Skydiving Germany's (ISG's) latest attempt to invalidate iFLY's patents has failed. iFLY's patents covering the key technologies which make vertical wind tunnels safe, cost effective entertainment remain valid and enforceable in Europe, as they are in dozens of other countries around the world. The company confirms that it will continue to aggressively protect its industry-changing technology anywhere it is challenged.
The EU Opposition division rejected ISG's novelty arguments and found that iFLY's claims were inventive over the prior art. "This determination by the European Patent Office shows that iFLY's foundational patents are valid and can withstand significant challenges not only in the US but also in the EU," said Alan Metni, CEO of iFLY. "We are gratified that the European Patent Office confirmed that our innovations were both novel and inventive." Metni added, "We will continue to pursue complete protection over the full scope of our invention in every jurisdiction where we operate and will continue to add to our claims through the open applications we have pending around the world, including in Europe."
ISG's latest efforts to avoid iFLY's patents come on the heels of iFLY's recent decisive win in the US in which ISG agreed to terminate sales of all vertical wind tunnels in the United States during the duration of iFLY's patents. In 2014, iFLY initiated litigation against ISG for selling a wind tunnel for installation in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout that litigation, ISG attacked the validity of the SkyVenture patents in both the District Court and the US Patent Office. Those attacks were unsuccessful. On the eve of trial, ISG conceded the validity and enforceability of two of iFLY's patents (U.S. Patents RE43,028 and 7,156,744) and agreed not to attack their validity in the future. As a direct result of the settlement, ISG terminated its Phoenix project, and agreed not to sell any vertical wind tunnel in the US through the duration of those patents - until September 22, 2024.
"Based on iFLY's necessary and legitimate enforcement of its patent rights to date, ISG and its principals are precluded from selling vertical wind tunnels of any kind for at least the next eight years in over 40 countries," said Kevin Fiur, iFLY's General Counsel. Fiur added, "Together with outside counsel, David Weaver of Baker Botts, LLP, iFLY will continue to build upon our existing portfolio and take a strong stand wherever we feel others are borrowing our technologies rather than creating on their own."
About iFLY Indoor Skydiving: Austin-based iFLY Holdings, LLC is the world leader in design, manufacturing, sales and operations of wind tunnel systems for indoor skydiving. Currently iFLY Holdings holds more than 32 issued and 31 pending patents that cover the US and 54 countries around the world. Under the brand names iFLY, SkyVenture, and Airkix (recently re-branded as iFLY), the Company has flown more than 7,000,000 people in a dozen countries since launching the modern vertical wind tunnel industry in 1998. iFLY has 55 facilities operating, with an additional 21 in various stages of construction. iFLY is continually searching for new locations in the USA and around the globe.
SOURCE iFLY Indoor Skydiving