HILLSBORO, Ore. — SD Holdings LLC has filed a $66 million patent infringement lawsuit against the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
The suit, brought by Peter A. Haas on July 29, claims AOPAs FlyQ Flight Planner infringes two SD Holdings patents. The patents were awarded Dec. 29, 2009 and May 12, 2013, to inventors Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson.
According to the lawsuit filing, SD Holdings, a Washington corporation, “is assignee of full title and interest to U.S. Patent No. 7,640,098 and U.S. Patent 8,447,512.”
“SD Holdings has significant contacts with this jurisdiction as the members of this limited liability company are located in the State of Oregon,” as noted in the lawsuit filing. The Washington Secretary of State website reports SD Holdings filing date as Dec. 7, 2012 and lists “Flight Prep” as a member.
A search of the Oregon Secretary of State website turns up two occurrences of FlightPrep. FlightPrep, Roger Stenbock listed as Authorized Representative, canceled its registration on May 24, 2012. FlightPrep Inc., with Ross Neher listed as Registered Agent and President, filed its Articles of Incorporation May 24, 2012.
“Stenbock & Everson Inc. (S&E) was dissolved in 2012. It was the company that had been in business for many years that people knew as FlightPrep,” said Ross Neher. “FlightPrep Inc. was formed to serve the aviation community and prior customers of S&E with database updates and software for planning and in-flight EFB use.”
FlightPrep is a licensee of SD Holdings, LLC for the online planner NavPlan (NavPlan.com), according to Neher, who said the company is under a non-disclosure agreement, so it cannot discuss the details of that license. “Please direct any patent or license questions to SD Holding’s representative Peter Haas,” he said in an email.
“Thank you for contacting me on the above matter,” Haas replied via email. “As we are in litigation, I’m afraid I can only tell you ‘no comment’.”
“AOPA categorically denies the allegations of patent infringement, as well as the validity of the patents, and AOPA intends to defend itself vigorously,” stated Ken Mead, AOPA’s general counsel. “It is a shame that AOPA must expend valuable resources to defend ourselves against these meritless accusations. Like others before us that have had to fight similar accusations related to this same series of patents, we are providing valuable flight planning tools to the community that help keep general aviation safe, affordable and fun.”
In 2011, FlightPrep settled a similar patent infringement lawsuit with RunwayFinder.com, which has since shut down. At the same time, it was reported that FlightPrep had contacted FltPlan.com, Jeppesen, AOPA, and FlightAware for “confidential discussions.” The companies all declined.