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City firm at heart of Formula 1 racing wins half-a-million damages.

Byline: Enda Mullen Business reporter

A COVENTRY company which has been at the forefront of Formula 1 for almost fifty years has won more than half-a-million pounds in damages in a landmark legal case.

AP Racing, which is based on the Seven Stars Industrial Estate in Whitley, makes performance brake and clutch systems for road and race cars.

The company has achieved considerable success across the entire motorsport spectrum and every Formula 1 championship since 1968 has been won using its equipment.

Last year the company celebrated its 765th Formula 1 victory as a supplier of racing clutches and brake components.

The recent court case saw the motorsport manufacturer awarded PS570,660 in damages, costs and interest following a ruling that Alcon Components infringed a patent protecting its innovative Radi-CAL concept for motorsport brake calipers. It's the highest ever level of damages awarded in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, The case centred around a range of brake calipers introduced and patented in 2007.

AP Racing's design made a major step forward in brake caliper technology within the motorsport industry and was used by teams in Formula 3, NASCAR and subsequently Formula 1. However, rival Alcon Components introduced a similar design in 2009.

The company instructed intellectual law specialists Kempner & Partners to pursue the case. Following an initial trial in 2012 and a subsequent hearing in the Court of Appeal in 2013, a ruling was made in January 2014 confirming the patent was valid and infringed, allowing AP Racing to pursue financial compensation and stop Alcon making any more of the calipers.

Welcoming the award AP Racing managing director Charles Bolton said: "Innovation is vital for the development of new technology and patent infringement is always an uncompetitive answer.

"The court's decision sends a clear message to the industry that the courts will not tolerate intellectual property infringement.

"AP Racing will always act to protect its intellectual property rights around the world, in order to safeguard our research and development work going forward.' Offering less mass, improved rigidity and better cooling characteristics than conventional brake caliper designs, the Radi-CAL concept represented a major innovation in braking technology when it was introduced.

Since it was developed AP Racing has produced more than 80 different Radi-CAL caliper designs.

It continues to refine the design and the concept is protected by patents across Europe and in numerous other countries including the USA, China and Japan.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 12, 2016
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