AIRBUS INDUSTRIE and its member companies strongly resisted Boeing's lawsuit over alleged slat-mechanism patent infringements, according to sources caught up in the affair.

The Boeing allegation is bitterly resented by Belgian companies responsible for production of Airbus slat mechanisms.

The BelAirbus umbrella company is responsible for detailed design of current-generation Airbus slat mechanisms under wing-builder British Aerospace. Sonaca makes the slat bodies and ASCO Aero Industries the tracks. Machining firm Watteeuw Special Products is an ASCO subcontractor.

A senior manager at one of the companies says: "Boeing may say they invented the wheel, but it is permissible for us to invent the wheel also. If they invent a wheel which is round, it does not compel us to invent a square wheel."

In line with the terms of their settlement, neither Airbus nor Boeing will comment on the matter (Flight International, 5-11 April). The Belgian sources say, however, that Airbus threatened a countersuit alleging that Boeing used Airbus winglet technology. The 747-400 is the only Boeing type with winglets.

Source: Flight International