* Airbus challenges Boeing partner’s patent on winglets
* Says its own wing tip devices do not infringe on patent
Dec 2 (Reuters) - Plane-maker Airbus has sued Aviation Partners Inc, challenging its patent on a fuel-saving device used on Boeing Co airplanes.
Airbus, the world’s largest plane-maker, says Aviation Partners demands royalties on wing tip devices that similar to its blended winglets.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Texas.
“For decades, Airbus has been developing and marketing wing tip devices that reduce drag and improve aircraft performance for various Airbus aircraft,” the company said in the lawsuit.
Airbus uses a wingtip device it calls “sharklets,” which will appear on the upcoming A320neo, a update of its narrowbody aircraft that promises 15 percent savings.
Aviation Partners declined to comment on the lawsuit. According to its website, the company introduced blended winglets in 1992. It says they now are in use on several airplane models, including more than 2,800 Boeing jets.
Aviation Partners says that on the Boeing 737, 757 and 767, blended winglets save fuel, reduce drag, and cut engine maintenance costs, airport noise and emissions.
Airbus asked the court to rule that its own wing tip devices do not infringe on the blended winglets made by Aviation Partners.
“API’s threats are a significant hindrance to Airbus and, without an early resolution place Airbus at a competitive disadvantage,” Airbus said.
A Boeing spokesman did not have an immediate comment on the case.
The lawsuit is Airbus S.A.S. vs Aviation Partners, Inc; No1:11-cv-01030 in the United States District Count for the Wester District of Texas, Austin Division.