AOPA says it will file its formal response Monday to a $66 million patent infringement suit launched by SD Holdings LLC, a Washington company that holds two patents on online flight planning tools. As we reported extensively in 2010 and 2011, the patents were awarded to Kyle Everson and Roger Stenbock, who at the time owned a company called FlightPrep, which began enforcing those patents with a variety of small online flight planning companies. Everson and Stenbock dissolved FlightPrep in 2012 but continue to hold the patents. FlightPrep was restarted by Ross Neher, an Oregon man who licences the technology from SD Holdings. The new FlightPrep is not part of this lawsuit as we incorrectly reported in Monday’s AVwebFlash. The patents in question are for “generating travel plans on the Internet” and for “generating computer flight plans on the Internet.” It began enforcing those patents by demanding royalties from other companies offering online flight planning and chart services. At the time, AOPA said its flight planning tool didn’t violate the patent but AOPA recently introduced a new flight planner called FlyQ that SD Holdings is claiming does violate the patents it holds. AOPA told AVweb it is withholding comment until after it files its response but SD’s claim says AOPA has denied that FlyQ infringes on the patents.
SD Holdings filed its suit on July 29, 2013 (PDF). It wants $60 million in lost profits from the potential sales of its products lost by AOPA’s sale of FlyQ. Further, it wants a 10 percent royalty on the $150 per year subscription fee that AOPA charges for the service. SD Holdings appears to base its math on a calculation that includes all of the estimated 400,000 AOPA members. SD Holdings has asked for a jury trial.