Mobileye Obtains injunction for AWACS

Awacs Safety Systems, General partnership is an Israel company that was set up by Morgan (Capital) Israel Ltd. and L .D. Israel Auto Equipment investments Ltd. that distributes systems for installation in automobiles, to provide warning of nearby vehicles, pedestrians, deviations from traffic lanes and the like.

Awacs Safety Systems has a trademark for Awacs.

Mobileye Technology Ltd. is a developer of automobile mounted systems and Awacs had an exclusive licensing arrangement to distribute systems manufactured by Mobileye in Israel.  Over time, there were a number of disagreements between Mobileye and Awacs Safety Systems and Mobileye gave Awacs Safety Systems notice that they would no longer give them exclusive distribution rights in March 2007, and in January of this year, they terminated the relationship completely.

Just before a trade fair in Israel where Awacs Safety Systems launched a system manufactured by Safe Drive Systems that was to have been sold under the name Awacs Radar 140 RD, Mobileye filed and obtained a temporary injunction against Awacs Safety System selling Safe Drive System‘s equipment under the name Awacs.

The grounds for the injunction were passing off. The judge justified this since the name Awacs was chosen for marketing Mobileye’s system and had only ever been used for marketing Mobileye’s products. In his opinion, sales under the name Awacs could adversely affect Mobileye, but since Awacs Safety Systems had not sold the new products under this name and could still distribute under another name, Awacs Safety Systems would hardly be harmed by the interim ruling. Mobileye were also required to post NIS 100,000 to cover Awacs Safety Systems legal fees and loss of income in the event that they would lose the main case.

COMMENTS

By way of full and candid disclosure:  Although not handling their trademark issues and not involved in this case, JMB, Factor & Co. does handle Mobileye‘s patent portfolio so I am declining to comment substantively on this development.

We note that the court issue here may be at least partly in the contractual relationship between the parties and these were not published in the interim decision.

We note that AWACS is an acronym for Airborne Warning and Control System, and may refer to:

  • E-3 Sentry, the aircraft developed under the USAF’s “Airborne Warning and Control System” program
  • Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C), a more modern term for the general type of aircraft used in this role
We also note that Israel Defence Forces are deploying the phalcon AWACs system, see http://www.ocnus.net/cgi-bin/exec/view.cgi?archive=102&num=26121,
It appears that the choice of name is somewhat misleading, whether deliberate or otherwise, and implies a connection with a vastly more sophisticated system used in national defense systems.
We await developments with interest.
The Case: T. A. 44802-03-11 Mobileye Technology Ltd. vs. L. D. Israel Auto Equipment Investments Ltd. et al., interim judgement given on 28 March 2011.

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