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Brompton v Chedech, final?

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Brompton v Chedech, final?

Old 03-14-23, 08:37 AM
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Brompton v Chedech, final?

Announced in the cycling press in 2020 "Brompton wins its case against Chedech". This turned out not to be accurate. Brompton merely got a favorable ruling from an upper EU court that '3D copyright' might apply, and the case was returned to EU lower court. In his recent book, Will Butler-Adams could only say, "this has been appealed and may one day be ruled on".

Well today a very excited guy, speaking in Korean, announced on youtube:





More on this as it develops.

Last edited by tcs; 03-14-23 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 03-14-23, 11:20 AM
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Anyway, the Chedech superlight carbon frame one speed 7.8kg, Brompton T-line titanium frame one speed 7.45kg!

What is still the benefit of Chedech, for me a titanium frame is much better for a folding bike than a carbon frame.
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Old 03-14-23, 01:49 PM
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Depending on how the judgment was written, this might open the EU market up to similar trifolds from 3sixty, Aceoffix, Afluen, Aleoca, Alps, B-Bike, Backer, Benotto, Billiton, Burke, Camp, Cigna, Crius, Easyti, Element, Flamingo, Fova, Garcia, Groo, Harry Quinn, Iruka, Neo, Jcat, Kreuz, La Bici, Leggero, Liaoge666, Litepro, Luigino, Mint, MIT, Mobot, Movebike, Neo, Oltre, Panlova, Ecosmo, Pico, Pikes, Pytitans, Sanye, Sunrimoon, United, Viking and/or Week Eight.
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Old 03-15-23, 03:42 AM
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The thing I don't understand in all that is what are they claiming in term of patent infringement? The design is essentially unchanged since the late 70's early 80's so after 30+ years, patent monopoly should expire.

So what are the patent claims?
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Old 03-15-23, 04:25 AM
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Brompton claims is not about patent but about design.

Brompton claims that the Brompton bike has a unique design not mandatory to make a folding bike (i.e. that the design of the Brompton doesn't come from industrial requirements but is a kind of piece of art) and that Chedech (and we can expect also other clones) copy the unique design of the Brompton bike.

Copying the unique Brompton is like copying a Picasso, Rembrandt, unique design furniture... a kind of copyrights infringement.
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Old 03-15-23, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Copying the unique Brompton is like copying a Picasso, Rembrandt, unique design furniture... a kind of copyrights infringement.
Except the EU courts just said it wasn't.
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Old 03-15-23, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz
The thing I don't understand in all that is what are they claiming in term of patent infringement? The design is essentially unchanged since the late 70's early 80's so after 30+ years, patent monopoly should expire.

So what are the patent claims?
Andrew Ritchie's first folding bike patents date from the mid-1970s, and the final form of the basic design appears in patents in the early 1980s. IIRC British and USA patents at the time ran for 17~19 years from the date they were granted. Will Butler-Adams said in his recent book that Brompton's principle patents expired in 1999.

More on patents:
https://www.bicycleretailer.com/prod...p#.ZBJVKOzML0o
https://www.bicycleretailer.com/opin...h#.ZBJVY-zML0o

Patents are an incentive to folks to invent useful items/processes. There has been a good deal of international cooperation in patent law. These days most countries recognize patents, once granted, running for a period of 17 years from the time of application. Patents cannot be extended or renewed. If a further improvement is made, that improvement can be patented, but that does not extend the patent on the base invention.

There are other kinds of intellectual property that are protected (or not) in different ways. Compositions (text, music, computer software & etc.) and art are generally covered under Copyright. Names, slogans and logos are generally covered under Trademarks. There is much less international harmonization in Copyright and Trademark law, and what is Copyrighted or Trademarked in one country might not be - and probably isn't - copyrighted or trademarked in another.

Bromptons has made previous attempts to exclude other Andrew Ritchie design tri-folders from the lucrative European market. The first was some two decades ago when some design copies were offered for sale in the EU. The manufacturer/importer made no effort to distinguish their bikes from Bromptons. IIRC they used identical graphics. Patent protection had expired, so Brompton sued under EU copyright law, pointing out that even the owner's manual was just a copy of the Brompton owner's manual. Brompton won this case.

In 2017 Dahon introduced the Curl at the Eurobike trade show. Brompton filed for an injunction based on...well, I'm not really sure what. At the first court hearing, Dahon pointed out the patent protections had long since run out, a blind man could see the difference in appearance between the machines and the EU had just granted Dahon 11 patents on the novelty of the Curl design. Brompton's request for an injunction was dismissed and the company was ordered to pay Dahon's legal expenses. (ouch)

In 2019 the carbon fiber Chedech bike was offered in the EU. Brompton filed suit claiming copyright infringement, specifically saying the Chedech had the same mainframe silhouette as the Brompton had since the 1988 production run started. The question became: could the appearance of an industrial design be protected under copyright? An upper-level court ruled that under EU law: yes, IF (1) the design was unique, (2) it was an artistic expression by the designer, and (3) another shape could perform the same function. With this clarification of law, the upper court returned the case for judgement.

The fellow speaking Korean in the video kept holding up a picture of two folding bicycles, the 1975 Brompton and the 1938 Le Petit Bi:



Honestly, I don't know what this has to do with anything or how this played into the court case, but in any event, it seems the EU courts rejected Brompton's claims of "3D Copyright"
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Old 03-16-23, 01:54 AM
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Yes, 20yrs front date of file for patent (I am very familiar with patent and patenting process).

The "copyright" in this instance would be treated like a US Design patent or a trademark mark. Again, after more than 30 years, I cannot see how it was defendable and as mentioned the EU court rules against it...
As far as I am concerned, it was a waste of money but it could have been strategic like people running "patent pending"; during the court case, competitor may refrain selling things allowing Brompton to "keep/secure" some market shares and these revenues may be greater than the legal cost...

But Although companies do that, this is speculative in this specific case.
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Old 03-16-23, 05:51 AM
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I know nothing about patents etc. but I'm surprised it's legal to sell a copycat of a product, where the brand is the only thing that changes.
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Old 03-16-23, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Except the EU courts just said it wasn't.
I never said I supported the copyrights claims of Brompton, I just explained that it was copyrights like claims and not patents claims.

Brompton should better try to differentiate from its competitors by improving the excellent base that is the original design of Andrew Ritchie instead of trying to eliminating its competitors by suing them. The T-line is a good start but with still the two major drawbacks of the other Brompton: a miserable single or 4s transmission and narrow, high pressure uncomfortable tires.

Competitors which for many are pathetic in the sense that they only stupidly copy the Brompton and just like Brompton do not improve it or solve the drawbacks of the Brompton which isn't that difficult, since a single very clever guy like Ben of Kinetics Glasgow is able to improve the Brompton.
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Old 03-18-23, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Brompton: a miserable single or 4s transmission...
Brompton seems to be trying to build as much of the bike in-house as possible, and in fact, W B-A talks about this in his book. One of the results of that is Brompton's infamously odd and limited drivetrains.
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Old 03-18-23, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz
As far as I am concerned, it was a waste of money but it could have been strategic like people running "patent pending"; during the court case, competitor may refrain selling things allowing Brompton to "keep/secure" some market shares and these revenues may be greater than the legal cost...

But Although companies do that, this is speculative in this specific case.
As a goal or just happenstance, in this case Brompton was able to keep the Chedech bike off the EU market for almost four years, coincidentally during the high-sales COVID bike boom.
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Old 03-18-23, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Brompton seems to be trying to build as much of the bike in-house as possible, and in fact, W B-A talks about this in his book. One of the results of that is Brompton's infamously odd and limited drivetrains.
Brompton doesn't make the drivetrain in-house, the IGH come from Srurmey Archer and the 4s derailleur is made in China (like most components, brakes, rims, saddle, hub...). Only the frame is made and painted in-house.

BTW, I wonder what can be patented in this 4s derailleur ?
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Old 03-19-23, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe

BTW, I wonder what can be patented in this 4s derailleur ?
after a quick search, it seems the shifter is the “special” stuff.

Details will be in the claims at the end of the document. Other than indexed shifter with an indicating window, i cannot see what s new and therefore defendable…


https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/077999593/publication/WO2023031604A1?q=Brompton

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/3.2/rest-services/images/documents/WO/2023031604/A1/formats/pdf/pages/?EPO-Trace-Id=2mpvn3-8zntcv-XXX-000117




then, there is something about the chain tensioner… which is a big spring loaded seperate arm using the same mechanism as the sensah empire long cage gravel derailleur.

the only difference is the twin pulley arm.

but, litepro was doing that in the late 2010’s so, how can it be defendable when it was filed in 2021…

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/pate...77A?q=Brompton

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/3.2/...tcv-XXX-000215

Last edited by Fentuz; 03-19-23 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 03-19-23, 03:33 AM
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Yes, nothing clearly new without any prior art !

But Brompton says "patent pending" not patented, so I think its just a marketing trick, they filed a patent to be able to claim that they have something unique knowing that the patent will eventually be rejected.
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Old 03-19-23, 01:47 PM
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With A1 status, they are published, will probably be granted to some degree however some claims may not be defendable… but it may keep away some competitions.

i remember dealing with competitor patented products and some colleagues at the time said it was untouchable because “patented”… i read the claims, found out what defendable, redesigned the few features/claims that were defendable and of course patented my solution… they did something with patented access from the right side, we did a similar thing with patented access from the left…
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Old 03-19-23, 04:23 PM
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Patent attorney most of the time do not search extensively for prior art, they just mention easy to find things so its possible to have a patent granted that later will be contested due to prior art.

This will anyway only happen if Brompton sue some competitors for infringement of the patent on this 4s derailleur.
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Old 03-20-23, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
This will anyway only happen if Brompton sue some competitors for infringement of the patent on this 4s derailleur.
Exactly, I think this patent is a repellent rather than a protection...

Oh and I forgot, owning patents is also "good" for IP credit when seeking for investors or selling the company
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Old 03-20-23, 04:56 AM
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Yes, there are many reasons to own a patents portfolio other than blocking competitors.

Having a big patent portfolio position a company like an innovator, for seeking investors but also for the customers, its a marketing strategy too.

It also help in using existing patents from other companies by making cross-licenses agreements, explicitly or not, a kind of cold war: if you sue me I will sue you! Its he reason why Google bought Motorola smartphone division to take the patent portfolio of Motorola in mobile phone technologies.
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Old 04-03-23, 07:02 AM
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Chedech seems kinda sore about this (plus a little explanation about what the 1938 Petit Bi had to do with the case).


Brompton sues Dahon, and loses. Brompton sues Chedech, and loses. Not a good look for the company.
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Old 04-03-23, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Having a big patent portfolio...
"We have comparatively few patents, which may surprise people, but it makes sense when you think about it...for most of the improvements we've made since (1975), we have preferred not to provide the world with a detailed technical description of how we make things better." - Will Butler-Adams
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Old 04-03-23, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Depending on how the judgment was written, this might open the EU market up to similar trifolds from 3sixty, Aceoffix, Afluen, Aleoca, Alps, B-Bike, Backer, Benotto, Billiton, Burke, Camp, Cigna, Crius, Easyti, Element, Flamingo, Fova, Garcia, Groo, Harry Quinn, Iruka, Neo, Jcat, Kreuz, La Bici, Leggero, Liaoge666, Litepro, Luigino, Mint, MIT, Mobot, Movebike, Neo, Oltre, Panlova, Ecosmo, Pico, Pikes, Pytitans, Sanye, Sunrimoon, United, Viking and/or Week Eight.
Bigger competition will benefit consumers.
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Old 04-04-23, 03:16 AM
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If that competition actually spends on R&D instead of just copycatting an existing product.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/facts...rcial-property
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Old 04-04-23, 03:37 AM
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Chedech do their folding bikes from carbon fiber. Id say they spend on R&D enough.
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Old 04-04-23, 04:17 AM
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The one and only
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