Alpinestars and Dainese in airbag patent infringement dispute

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By Kent Kunitsugu

What initially appeared to be a peaceful coexistence between Alpinestars’ Tech Air (left) and Dainese’s D-Air (right) airbag protection systems has now been shattered with the news that the two Italian apparel giants are locking horns in a patent infringement battle in European courts.

When you think of protective riding apparel, two names from Italy immediately come to mind: Alpinestars and Dainese. The two Italian apparel giants have made a name for themselves producing all manner of riding gear for serious motorcycle enthusiasts, as well as motorcycle-related casual wear. Both manufacturers have been at the cutting edge of protection technology, with each offering self-contained internal airbag protection suits: Dainese with its D-Air system and Alpinestars with its Tech Air system.

There seemed to be a peaceful coexistence between the two makers as each promoted its competing airbag technology, despite some obvious similarities (both have self-contained control units that use accelerometers and sophisticated algorithms to determine whether an actual crash is taking place, using an airbag that inflates in microseconds that protects the rider’s body from impacts). But recently there were reports that Dainese had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Alpinestars in Germany and Italy regarding several key components of the Tech Air system. Alpinestars issued a press release in an attempt to clarify the matter, and several days later, Dainese responded with its own press release. Suffice it to say that the matter won’t be resolved anytime soon.

The following are the press releases from both companies:

From Alpinestars, released on Dec. 23:
Alpinestars Tech-Air Street Airbag system – Statement regarding press coverage of Patent Challenge

With reference to recent articles published about Alpinestars and Dainese being in dispute over airbag technology, Alpinestars is issuing the following statement to clarify the current situation:

Alpinestars …read more

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