E-bike maker Cowboy accused of stealing new headwind feature

The Belgian e-bike maker Cowboy recently introduced a new function that automatically offers more support in the event of a headwind, for example. That feature may now lead to a patent infringement lawsuit.

Making an existing e-bike better with a software update: always a plus when e-bike manufacturers do that. Cowboy did it in March at the Cowboy 4 en 4ST, which now offers extra support with the AdaptivePower function in case of strong headwind, extra weight or cycling uphill, without having to press a button. This is done with the existing sensors and a smart algorithm. That algorithm may now be used in a lawsuit, reports TechCrunch.

Cowboy previously worked with the French eBikeLabs. The startup also started as an e-bike maker in 2015, but later decided to focus exclusively on the software side of bicycles. The company had one trump card: a special algorithm that automatically provides more support in case of strong headwind, extra weight or cycling uphill.

In 2021 and 2022, eBikeLabs worked exclusively for Cowboy. In the course of 2022, that collaboration ended, presumably due to the economic climate: Cowboy received fewer investments than before. Fast forward to March of this year: Cowboy releases the AdaptivePower update. eBikeLabs finds that feature very familiar and accuses Cowboy of reusing its patented technology.

Theft or slander?

Cowboy denies that reuse and speaks of a ‘slander campaign’ by eBikeLabs. “We have decided to sue Cowboy for patent infringement, infringement of our knowledge and unfair competition,” eBikeLabs CEO Maël Bosson wrote to shareholders last month, TechCrunch writes based on a leaked email.

Cowboy in turn therefore speaks of a form of business slander. The company claims to have developed the AdaptivePower function all by itself. “Cowboy refutes all allegations made by eBikeLabs in their leaked email and should a formal lawsuit be filed, it will be formally challenged by Cowboy,” said a Cowboy spokesperson.

Story takes a turn

The feud between Cowboy and eBikeLabs is going to end anyway. TechCrunch writes that the French company has patented its technology, and that the Belgians from Cowboy have asked with interest about the how and what about that patent.

The coming time will show further how the fork is exactly in the stem.

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