Eclipse Owner Makes Bid For Intellectual Property

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As the Eclipse community waits for court date for the Chapter 7 liquidation of the company, a Louisiana company has filed a motion with the bankruptcy court that could turn the whole process upside down. Gray Oil and Gas Company and Gray and Company Inc, which owns two Eclipse 500s, has filed a motion with the court to compel the bankruptcy trustee to turn over access to the source codes and fundamental building blocks of the highly proprietary computerized aircraft systems. The technology was developed at great expense by Eclipse and is considered fundamental to the operation of the aircraft and that, said a Gray's spokesman who asked not to be identified, is the whole point. "The desire is to divorce the existing owners from a potentially hostile intellectual property owner" who might use the exclusive rights to the software to compel existing owners to pay high prices for needed repairs and upgrades.

The other benefit to existing operators is that they wouldn't have to pay to acquire the whole company just to be able to fly the airplanes. He said Gray's has spoken to various avionics companies, most of whom are more than willing to get the STCs and PMAs necessary to maintain and enhance the systems on the existing aircraft. The spokesman said the legal action is rooted in recent changes to bankruptcy laws that are designed to protect the owners of products of defunct companies from being hung out to dry by subsequent owners or simply left hanging if no new owners can be found. The motion will be heard in May.