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Jury says Princeton Carbon Works wheels don't infringe on SRAM's patents

Published February 26, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (BRAIN) — Princeton Carbon Works prevailed after a two-week jury trial in which SRAM LLC had accused the company of infringing on two patents for aero wheels.

In its complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida nearly two years ago, SRAM said that the wavy rim shape on some Princeton carbon road wheel models infringed on two patents for a rim shape said to have been inspired by a humpback whale flipper. SRAM uses the design on its Zipp 454 Carbon NSW wheels, which retail for up to $4,000 per pair. 

SRAM's wheels rely on two patents from inventor Dimitrios Katsanis. The first patent was issued in 2017 and a related patent was issued in 2020. Katsanis assigned each to Metron IP Limited, a Nottingham, UK, company, which in turn assigned them to SRAM.

The patents describe a rim with an "undulating configuration" that is said to reduce aerodynamic drag, especially in crosswinds. Among the publications cited in the patents is "Hydrodynamic Design of the Humpback Whale Flipper," published in the Journal of Morphology in 1995.

"We are pleased with the outcome and look forward to continuing offering exciting, high-performance wheels to discerning cyclists," Princeton CEO Harrison Macris told BRAIN.

In January U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman said the case was best decided by a jury and he predicted "a proverbial battle of experts" at trial. Final arguments were delivered last Thursday. Just before 3 p.m. Friday the jury returned a verdict finding that Princeton had not infringed on either patent and was not due any damages. 

Topics associated with this article: Lawsuits/legal

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