Pratt & Whitney files countersuit against Rolls-Royce

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A defiant Pratt & Whitney alleges "unfair and unscrupulous" behaviour by Rolls-Royce as P&W shoots back in response to a claim by Rolls-Royce that its swept fan blades infringed on intellectual property.

P&W has filed a complaint against Rolls-Royce in US District Court in Connecticut.

Chief intellectual property counsel for P&W George Romanik says: "Rolls-Royce has engaged in unfair behaviour to mislead the United States Patent & Trademark Office to obtain a patent that it now alleges Pratt & Whitney infringes."

P&W believes the Rolls-Royce patent "is invalid and unenforceable and that Rolls-Royce is unlawfully using its patent and taking other actions in an attempt to harm Pratt & Whitney".

In a suit filed on 26 August, Rolls-Royce alleged the swept fan blade design on the Engine Alliance GP7200, on which P&W partners with General Electric, and the PurePower PW1000G violated intellectual property owned by Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce expects its case, filed in the Eastern Virginia of US federal court, to be heard by a jury in the first half of 2011.

Despite this timeline provided by Rolls-Royce, Bob Saia, Pratt & Whitney vice president next generation engine family is "confident" the suit will have no impact on the production of the GP7200, which powers the Airbus A380, or the PW1000G that will be featured on the Bombardier CSeries, Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Irkut MS-21 starting in 2013, 2014 and 2016, respectively.