iFLY / ISG Patent Battle Ends, Fliteshop Project Terminated
Update September 23rd, 2016: The European Patent Office ruled on iFLY’s patent. Both ISG and iFLY have released press releases about the conclusion. Read the news announcement here.
Update June 12th, 2016: construction plans for an iFLY wind tunnel less than 2 miles to the south of the old Fliteshop site have surfaced. iFLY Phoenix is estimated to be open in early 2017.
Tonight Alan Metni, the CEO of SkyVenture and iFLY Indoor Skydiving sent out an announcement that a legal battle that had been underway for some time has ended. Fliteshop, a wind tunnel project in Phoenix, Arizona was to bring an Indoor Skydiving Germany (ISG) wind tunnel to the USA. In 2014 ISG was sued by SkyVenture for patent infringement.
Original case details can be found here.
In tonight’s letter, Alan Metni writes the following on the conclusion:
In 2014, we sued Indoor Skydiving Germany (ISG) for selling a wind tunnel for installation in Phoenix, Arizona. In the run up to trial, ISG repeatedly attacked the validity of our patents in both the District Court and the US Patent Office; those attacks failed. On the eve of trial, ISG conceded the validity and enforceability of two of our U.S. Patents (RE43,028 and 7,156,744) and agreed not to attack their validity in the future. 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. The agreement was not limited to the US. To persuade us to settle, ISG also agreed to cease operations in North and South America, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Middle East and India until September 22, 2024. To be vindicated in this way, after so many years of fighting was incredibly gratifying.
This conclusion comes one month before the first non-iFLY tunnel, Airborne San Diego is scheduled to open. In addition another tunnel by new manufacturer Extreme Flight has been announced near the original SkyVenture location in Orlando. As the letter continues it is clear that other wind tunnel manufacturers will be a future focus for iFLY:
It’s important to note that this does not resolve the matter globally. Our patent infringement lawsuits in other countries continue. We are also aware of other companies doing substantially the same thing as ISG. We plan to address those violations in similar fashion and we expect the same result.
This case is not the first time that SkyVenture and ISG have faced off. In 2010 the German patent office ruled in favor of ISG, cancelling SkyVenture’s German utility patent. The announcement by ISG for that conclusion can be found here.
We will be following any additional developments closely. Please leave any comments below.
Published: May 10, 2016 | Last Updated: January 16, 2023
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17 thoughts on “iFLY / ISG Patent Battle Ends, Fliteshop Project Terminated”
If you all would work together and not pay all the lawyer fees it would bring down the price you charge for just 4 min of fly time so families could go and not pay and arm and a leg to do so…..
Well… Could anyone who know about this dispute well explain to me what happened?
From my view, it looks like full of absurdity.
This dispute is like, Ford sue other car company because they also have four wheels, one engine, one steering. totally does not make sense.
Look where the group patents their product (east Texas). Now read how patents done in that small town are done to essentially create an ability to sue. They can turn in a patent, that varies slightly and then claim it is the same. The basic wind tunnel has been around for decades as someone noted. Patents end though, but they will continue to tweek and state they were copied.
This group wants a monopoly, and they eventually twisted the courts to get as they needed. They lose one battle, and tie up another end to try and win along those lines.
Sadly, it is not about skydiving, and it is only about money.
If you invested many millions of dollars in creating a product, you’d patent it too, unless you are a complete fool.
If anyone infringed upon said patent you’d sue them for it to protect your investment into that technology you provided the world, whiney as they may be. Unless of course, you are a total fool.
That’s not a monopoly. Thats a patent. That’s not greed, that’s protecting your investment, and that is fair.
Unfortunate as it may be for the flyers, that’s fair and legitimate.
Skydivers remember what tunnel flight was before SkyVenture…
Where would be the technology without iFLY investment on R&D?
Indoor Skydiving continue to develop, in proportion with 1st timers (who pay for the technology, so that sport flyers may enjoy it)
There have been recirculating vertical windtunnels all over the world for a lot longer than either Skyventure or ISG have existed.
The big UK tunnel currently used for skydiving has been in existence since the 1950s.
Talk about prior art…
I hear what you say and I have experienced that too at a tunnel where the first timer will always get priority and skydivers or return tunnelfliers become definitely secondary. It is not in all tunnels like that, I found mostly awesome staff and support, yet there were a couple where this truly was felt.
Skyventure is a greedy, selfish company…..Unfortunately thats exactly like most companies. They call themselves indoor skydiving (which is completely false advertising) yet they care less and less about skydivers. Their monopoly needs to end. My only hope is people will eventually realize their true greedy intentions and they will go bankrupt or get bought out, leading the way to cheaper, more available tunnels that care about return customers as much as the new ones.
The more tunnels the better! I don’t five a doggone about ifly, sky venture, or anyone else…. There’s room for everyone. As far as I am concerned, this is just corporate bull****! A wind tunnel is a wind tunnel. If you think you make a better one and compete, so be it. It’s not cheap to build any of the tunnels so to choose to take the risk to do so, you mist be pretty confident in your design. Let capitalism figure it out.
Hear hear – well said and I am so with you. windtunnel is windtunnel – Brotherhood is where it’s at. It’s like one DZ suing another – so ridiculous. Lets just fly and be connected, all of us!
Skyventure patent laps on 2018
Their monopoly is coming to an end
They protect their product by scaring others
The quality of their product is as old as them
Long life to the big ball companies as Extreme Flight and whoever run San Diego!!!!!!!
I hardly believe that iFly won this battle with ISG. It is more likely that they paid to ISG a significant amount of money to terminate or sell Fliteshop and promise not to go to US and some other countries.
Patents of ISG cost nothing. I do not understand why nobody tried to cancel them here in US? Most of the statements are well known technical solutions already being used in conventional wind tunnels for almost hundred of years. This is the case where bad engineers meet good lawyers.
Why not work together – why not make it work for all? Why always legal battles over who does what with what … so sad :( Sharing and working together, building and designing the best for all – now that would be brotherhood. And isn’t that what the sport is about? Brotherhood? It’s a shame these competitions between companies have to happen whereupon then one is forbidden to effectively work in most places. I personally do not feel it’s a great ‘victory’ to forbid somebody else to create their project in all English speaking countries so to speak. Was there no other way, a way that would have been amicable for all? I love flying with IFLY and I love flying with others too – politics like this just create a bad taste, all in the name of who owns what …
Sad but true – businesses must protect the investments of dollars and innovations they generate. This drive to be protective also protects employees. It is about fairness (going by the law) but can also be perceived as greed although that could be debated by many as it was in court.
Working together for mutual benefit for all is where it’s at in my books. And if everyone just supported each other there would be no need for ‘protection’…