Air taxi rivals Wisk and Archer will mediate in a trade secret theft lawsuit in March

by Ana Lopez

Wisk Aero And Sagittarius Aviation will mediate for a second time in late March, nearly two years after the rivals began a bitter lawsuit over Wisk’s allegations that the newer Air Taxi entrant stole trade secrets, businessupdates.org has learned exclusively.

“We remain open to a possible resolution of the matter, but are convinced that Wisk’s claims are unfounded,” an Archer spokesperson said of the mediation. businessupdates.org has reached out to Wisk for comment and will update the story if they respond.

The two companies first entered mediation sometime before October 25 last year. According to a transcript of an Oct. 25 Zoom conversation between the parties’ attorneys and the trade secret judge, an attorney representing Wisk said the companies had engaged in a mediation, but it was unsuccessful. Wisk attorney Yuri Kapgan told the court that despite the earlier failure, Wisk was not opposed to a new settlement conference or private mediation.

“We are certainly open to exploring options to resolve this matter,” agreed Josh Krevitt, the attorney representing Archer.

Judge William Orrick told lawyers he may still send the case to a magistrate for a settlement conference, even if Wisk and Archer are still in private mediation.

“It seems that the pain of litigation is not a reason for your clients to settle, so I’m hoping there might be something else that could be – that some wise person would help them take advantage of a solution.” see,” he said.

Mediation is often used in trade secret disputes, as the proceedings remain confidential. Confidentiality may be particularly important to the plaintiff in an IP-related case, as they may want to avoid the disclosure of sensitive information in open court cases or during the trial by jury. Trade secret lawsuits, in particular, can also be complicated, lengthy, and costly on both sides, leading many attorneys to recommend meditation or settlement.

Wisk and Archer have been embroiled in a bitter trade secret lawsuit for nearly two years. Both companies develop electric aircraft. Founded in 2018, Archer aims to develop an air taxi service as early as 2024; the company signed a major partnership with United Airlines to jump-start the service, with the first proposed route connecting Newark Liberty International Airport to New York City’s Downtown Manhattan Heliport.

Wisk, a company that grew out of a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, is developing a four-seat autonomous aircraft. The company unveiled its sixth-generation air taxi last October, with the company saying it plans to submit the vehicle to the US Federal Aviation Administration for certification.

Wisk filed suit against Archer in April 2021, alleging that the newer eVTOL participant committed “brutal theft” of intellectual property and trade secrets. Since then, the legal battle has only gotten worse, with Archer later asking the court to award him $1 billion in damages from the lawsuit. Should the mediation fail, Wisk and Archer have agreed on a schedule that will see their trial begin Aug. 14, according to court documents.

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