Specialized wins court case, Volagi wins freedom

The Specialized v. Volagi Cycles case has closed. In the end, Specialized won a reduced claim of “breach of contract” against Volagi co-founder Robert Choi and was awarded $1.  The “theft of IP” charges were dropped.  Volagi’s other co-founder, Barley Forsman, was found not guilty.

Tweets and reports floating around peg the cost of the trial at $440,000 for Volagi and $1.5 million for Specialized.  Another small victory for Specialized: Volagi will have to pay its own court costs … for now.

While the court of public opinion has been fairly vocal on this case, in the end it was about technicalities that only the parties involved could truly know. Specialized founder Mike Sinyard issued this statement:

“This lawsuit was a matter of principle and about protecting our culture of trust and innovation. We respect the ruling of the court in our favour. We are very satisfied with the outcome and the damages set at $1.00. We really want to put all our passion and time into growing the sport of cycling.”

For Volagi’s part, both founders and their co-workers say they’re incredibly relieved the ordeal is over.  They will not have to change their bikes, designs or patents.  Choi said:

“We fought one of the largest cycling companies in the world with some of the best lawyers in the country and won. It was hurtful to think Specialized or anyone would think that we stole the idea for our bike. We worked really hard to develop it, and to be told did something wrong in the process really hurt. We think justice was served. I want to tell the cycling world to breathe a sigh of relief, too, because we can still paint bikes red.”

Forsman says now Volagi are likely to go after Specialized for attorney’s fees.

“We’ve been dodging bullets for the last year and a half.  Everytime we showed up for mediation (we had to) wonder what they’d sue us for that time. I think it’s pretty clear the trial was wrongful.  Our next step is start filing some paperwork to get our money back.  It might take a year or more, but we expect it to happen because we can show plenty of evidence of it being a wrongful suit.  Most importantly, we won yesterday.  Yesterday is when the judge made the ruling that there were no damages and no wrong doing for Volagi.  None of the trade secrets or intellectual property stuff held up.  So we came into (Friday) knowing we still had our jobs on Monday.”


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