Chain guide market leaders MRP and e*thirteen have entered into a co-licensing agreement that covers their respective intellectual property relating to the direct-mount bash guard. Used extensively in both companies’ product lines since 2007, the direct-mount bash guard protects critical drivetrain components and provides several advantages over the traditional crank-mounted bash guard. Many World Champions in the disciplines of four-cross, downhill, and enduro have run chain guides utilizing direct-mount bash guards. The agreement will allow both companies to focus independently on continuing innovation, while working together to address any infringing designs that are in the market.
The above press release means both MRP and e*thirteen will be continuing on with business as usual, but it does sound like we could see them confront others who are using the direct-mount bash guard design. ''In our agreement we are cross-licensing those patents, giving each other the right to continue making cutting-edge chain guides featuring integrated bashes without worrying about potentially being challenged by the other on IP ownership,'' explained MRP's Noah Sears. ''As part of the agreement, together we will be addressing designs we think infringe on our collective patent portfolio.''
Companies talking about protecting their patents can often make them seem overly litigious to the casual observer, but there are good reasons for doing so. ''Both of our companies have been producing these type of guides for the better part of a decade and have spent considerable amounts of money filing, defending, and administering to our patents.'' Sears said of their reasoning. ''We think it's not only appropriate, but fitting with the spirit of ingenuity and innovation, that we protect the designs we've worked so hard to bring to fruition. Though it's easy to become cynical of the patent claims and litigation so common in the industry these days, I think it's important to keep in mind that the whole concept intellectual property ownership really promotes innovation and 'outside of the box' thinking, whereas imitation does not.''
Anyone searching for some light reading material can check out the actual patents involved - RE42,436, RE44,379, 8,235,849, 8,491,429 and 8,979,685 - it they want to see the intellectual property that Sears is talking about, and it does sound like both companies won't be shy about defending that property in the future.
Learn more about each company at www.mrpbike.com