Aspen Avionics, Eclipse Aviation Settle Suit

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Eclipse Aviation will get a 1-percent stake in Aspen Avionics under the out-of-court settlement of a suit launched by Eclipse late last year. As AVweb reported in December, Aspen founders Peter Lyons and Jeff Bethel were sued by Eclipse, which claimed rights to the AT300 Hazard Awareness Display, a nifty little moving map and terrain awareness device that fits a three-inch hole in the panel and replaces the conventional vertical speed indicator (there's an electronic one built in). Eclipse claimed the pair developed the device, which earned technical standard order (TSO) status in 2005, while working for Eclipse and in violation of an agreement that anything invented on company time was the company's to exploit, charges that Lyons and Bethel denied. Lyons and Bethel claimed they invented the AT300 before they started work at Eclipse in 2002 and that the only intellectual property waiver they signed was for the interview process. Eclipse had filed for a patent on the AT300. Under the agreement, Eclipse waives any claims it made in the suit and assigns any rights that might stem from the patent process to Aspen in return for 1 percent of the shares in Aspen. "This settlement frees us from the distraction and expense of litigation, and allows us to focus on developing new, breakthrough products for the general aviation market," Lyons said in a news release.