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Possible patent infringement on the high seas


November 17, 2020

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As reported by Stuff, an aspect of the boat to be used by Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup sailing competition is now the subject of a patent infringement action by Brazilian boat designer Manoel Chaves.


Chaves claims that the boat in question, the AC75, uses a “canting foil system” that is protected by his patent. The firm representing Chaves claims that, because all three America’s Cup challengers are using this same design, they could all be infringing the patent in question. Team New Zealand not only denies these assertions, but they claim to have responded to similar allegations in July when Chaves first made such a claim


Particularly at issue is a system unique to AC75 boats, which involves the boat’s fly being attached to retractable foils. In a recent statement, Team New Zealand noted that “every good idea has 1000 fathers” and that Chaves’ patent “requires features not found in the AC75 yacht”.


While the progress of this action is still in its early stages, its development will likely affect the preparations of all challenger teams in advance of their 2021 America’s Cup races.

Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Sasha Seeber

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