In particular, they allege that Specialized has infringed on US Patent number 7,334,846 which covers a rim design by NoTube’s founder Stan Koziatek. Ã‚Â The case is pending in a New York District Court. Ã‚Â I’ve got a call in to Stan to determine if it’s just Specialized’s design, or does any tubeless wheel/rim sold in the US fall under his patent…I’ll update this post if we hear back.
UPDATE: Quoted from my email correspondence with Stan:
“(In)Ã‚Â October 2005 Specialized contacted Stan Koziatek. It was StanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s understanding Specialized was interested in purchasing NoTubes … and retain Koziatek for rim tire design and development purposes.
StanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s understanding was this purchase would include taking over all of the NoTubes product line and all patents related to them. Koziatek’s understanding from Mike Sinyard was that every bicycle company was aware of Specialized aggressiveness in enforcing their patents.
From his conversations with Mike Sinyard, Koziatek’s understanding was that Specialized wanted to have its own rim brand and assured him no one would copy any of his rim designs.
After a few phone conferences Stan decided not to sell.”
According to Stan, NoTubes is still debating whether to simply request that Specialized cease & desist using his designs, or to look for damages and/or licensing royalties. Ã‚Â (NOTE: Specialized has a patent on the Horst Link design and charges a per-frame licensing fee to any manufacturer that uses that design)