British Cycling threatened with legal action as Dutch brand accuse GB of COPYING their patented design for radical new bike Jason Kenny and Co will use on the velodrome in Tokyo
The Lotus x Hope HB.T being used by Britain at Tokyo 2020 has particularly wide front forks to deflect air around a rider’s legs.
However, Dutch bike manufacturer Ku Cycle insist their own English engineer Richard McAinsh filed for a patent on a similar design in 2016 and say that British Cycling had their own patent rejected this year.
British Cycling has brought a brand new bike design to the Tokyo Olympics for their athletes
Designed by Hope, British Cycling have could now face legal action from by a Dutch brand
‘We need to put our stake in the ground and say we believe this is our technology,’ Ku Cycle co-founder Alex Bok told Sportsmail.
‘If our patent lawyers prove that the infringement is deep enough then we will say, “Here is a letter guys, how do we deal with this? If you want to go and have a drastic fight, our lawyers are 100 per cent ready to defend our patent”.
‘Sometimes you have to say, “Don’t ignore the history, don’t ignore where the idea comes from”.
‘We are not seeking media attention, we just say, “Give us the recognition for what we believe belongs to us. If you don’t want to do that, then fine, but you are forcing our hands to take action”.
The team pursuit is underway in Tokyo with Laura Kenny and Co already racing the bikes
‘When you feel other people try to boast and sell it as their fantastic idea, that’s where it gets a little bit annoying and that’s why we put our stake in the ground.
‘We are super interested in what they have to say and that will determine the spirit of how this further evolves.’
The Team GB bike for Tokyo was first launched in October 2019 but was only used in public by all British riders at the Izu Velodrome on Monday. Sources close to British Cycling have dismissed Ku Cycle’s complaints as a publicity stunt.
But Bok adds: ‘Richard developed an idea for an entire new front of the bike and he filed that patent in 2016. It was approved in Europe in 2020.
‘We did our homework in 2021 and there was one secret filing of a patent filed by British Cycling in 2019. In March this year, their patent didn’t get approved because it was too close to a patent that had already been filed and approved.
Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon, Oliver Wood and Ed Clancy are Britain’s male team pursuit hopes
‘If one files in 2016 and has everything approved and the other one files in 2019 under a secret order, which rings a little bit of a bell and which gets turned down in March this year, then I think British Cycling has something to think about.’
A British Cycling spokesman told Sportsmail: ‘The design for this bike has been in the public eye for almost two years. We are confident that it does not infringe any patents and we are happy to deal with any challenges through the appropriate processes.’
Meanwhile, Team GB and Australia have queried rivals Denmark’s use of medical tape on the shins of their riders during the men’s team pursuit, something which was flagged on Twitter by Chris Boardman.
Cycling’s governing body, UCI, have a strict rule on the maximum height of socks to prevent teams gaining an aerodynamic advantage. However, they are understood to have cleared the Danes’ use of tape.