Reported on Bicycle Retailer and Industry News on Tuesday, Electra is seeking damages against Trek for what they feel is a violation of their recently awarded patent. The Flat Foot Technology was a staple, and main selling point, of Electra bikes for several years while the patent was pending. With many imitators around the industry, it was only a matter of time before Electra began to protect their proprietary technology.


  1. Kind of strange that this is happening now, as a few companies have done “flat-foot” bikes, I know Giant has offered the Suede since at least ’08, and Trek had them going back to the Sole Ride in 2005.

  2. Electra claims they invented it in 2003. The USPTO is very backlogged, and the patent may have gone through a tortuous process of rejections, appeals, and reexaminations. A patent pending isn’t a valid patent yet, but you copy it at your own risk.

  3. You can’t patent “long chainstays and slack seat angles” for their own sake. However, if you show a previously unknown, unobvious (and no, hindsight does *not* count), useful application of them, you have a chance.

    Most inventions out there involve using well-known materials and technologies in novel ways.

  4. It’s mirrored…

    Realistically, Trek knew what they were doing when they used a pending patent in the bikes. They will probably end up paying Electra an undisclosed settlement, and pay Electra for future use of the patent. That payment is something they figured they would have to make day they made those cruisers in the first place, and is probably why the sources at Trek aren’t concerned about current stocks.

What do you think?