SRAM VERSUS PRINCETON WHEEL LAWSUIT; A WINNER & LOSER
As reported on the BRAIN site, after an almost two-year legal battle between SRAM and Princeton Carbon Works on the merits of the now famous “wavy wheel” design, a Florida jury handed a big victory to Princeton in declaring that the smaller wheel brand did not infringe on the SRAM/Zipp design patent that was made popular with the Zipp 454 NSW wheels. Princeton ran with the “wavy” design feature with their entire wheel lineup.
Owing to the visual similarity between the two wheel designs, to the untrained eye it could easily be considered a case of “twin technology”. Zipp’s patent was based on the original wheel design by the inventor Dimitrios Katsanis which Zipp marketed as a “Sawtooth™ rim with Hyperfoil™ nodes.” Prior to the case going to a jury, Judge Altman had earlier opined that “a reasonable jury could side with Princeton.”
Despite being unbranded, the Princeton wheels gained their greatest renown when Team Ineos relied on them in 2020. Since then Ineos have continued to use the wheels in lieu of their sponsor correct Shimano Dura-Ace hoops in specific situations when the marginal aerodynamic gains were desired.
We reached out to SRAM to see if they would appeal the verdict and at the time of this writing we were told “SRAM is considering all of its options going forward, including an appeal.”