Carlini Designs Sues Paul Yaffe In Federal Court For Patents Infringement

gangsterapeevilapeCarlini Designs, based in Santa Ana, California, specializes since 1969 in high-quality aftermarket parts for Harley Davidson and custom motorcycles. The company filed a federal lawsuit against Paul Yaffe Designs  (dba Paul Yaffe Originals & Bagger Nation) based in Phoenix, Arizona, also maker of handlebars, alleging patents infringement for the 2 models “Evil Apes” and “Gangster Apes”. According to the lawsuit, filed in federal court on Oct. 24, 2013, Paul Yaffe Designs was notified in April of this year that Carlini’s “Evil Apes” and “Gangster Apes” handlebars were protected by design patents, and the company was asked to discontinue selling and shipping the copied or knockoff products. The lawsuit is the result of Paul Yaffe Designs continuing to sell the patent-protected products, as recently as October.

Anthony Carlini, CEO and President of Carlini Designs, explains, “We strive to create unique, high-quality designs for our handlebars. It is unfair for Paul Yaffe Designs to be allowed to copy our bars and sell them secretly, even after we notified the company of our patent rights.” Carlini Designs enforces its patent rights rigorously and this is not the first lawsuit they have brought against competitors who act in violation of intellectual property laws. The response from Paul Yaffe Designs to the Carlini lawsuit is due in late November.

46 Responses to “Carlini Designs Sues Paul Yaffe In Federal Court For Patents Infringement”

  1. 1 BobS Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Wah. Those two bars pictured do not look alike to me.

  2. 2 Joshua Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:38 am

    BobS. It’s not the original & the copy. There are the 2 original bars from Carlini!

  3. 3 Terence Tory Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I doubt Carlini’s crusade to patent the virtually unpatentable will last long in the courts,Bars would only have to differ in fractions of degrees,proportions and dimensions to be considered alternative designs.

  4. 4 Vince Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Hmmm. Heard before that some Yaffee’s parts are not so Yaffe Originals. Don’t know. Judge will decide, but Carlini having patents and Yaffe apparently none, I bet that Yaffe will settle out of court.

  5. 5 P. Hamilton. Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Even if Yaffe champions the “a few degrees variation” to escape infringement, if sued, he better off settle or it will cost him more money defending himself that selling thousands of bars, a quantity that nobody sells anyway.

  6. 6 Terence Tory Nov 6th, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I’d love to see Carlini’s engineering report for each and every bar they have manufactured that has been certified and measured inside and out by a trained engineer before,during and after manufacture.A patent clerk would be bent over in laughter with someone trying to enforce a handlebar design.

  7. 7 Rash Nov 6th, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Terence. If there is a patent, there is a patent. All patents can be enforced. It’s not about the validity of a patent, it’s about enforcing it.

  8. 8 takehikes Nov 6th, 2013 at 11:27 am

    since both bars are hideous piles who cares.

  9. 9 J.H. Nov 6th, 2013 at 11:33 am

    When we were making Ape Hangers out of Sears and Roebuck, or Montgomery Wards chrome kitchen tables last made in the late 50s and early 60s, you didn’t hear them bitchin about it or trying to sue over patent infringement. That is where they came from, and Flanders was one of the first to make them. Did he patent them? Or did Sears have a patent on the tables and chairs? Could Flanders be considered in violation of their patent if they did?

  10. 10 Bud Nov 6th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Which Yaffe bars are they referring to? His Bagger Apes and Monkey Bars aren’t even close.

  11. 11 1550tc Nov 6th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    JH Cool pic of Spearfish Canyon Tunnel……….when was that pic taken?

    A patent on bars seems like a WTF………should be interesting, most days i think the only original things in this industry were adam and eve!!!

  12. 12 Rash Nov 6th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Carlini states that Yaffe sells them secretly. So, I guess, with a pending lawsuit, he is not going to show them on his website.

  13. 13 Lyle Nov 6th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Patents on MC parts aren’t worth diddly. Big manufacturers are going to make your stuff anyways knowing the small time inventor that will have to spend money to defend their patents. The only guys who win are the lawyers on either side. And patents are only good for a few years.

  14. 14 Mcfreeak Nov 6th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I wonder if py bars also rust at the welds

  15. 15 Hungouver Nov 7th, 2013 at 6:18 am

    The fat red head is getting beat up on the playground again

  16. 16 Treygordo420 Nov 7th, 2013 at 6:40 am

    They did this to Nash Motorcycles 18 months ago – Nash got a good lawyer and beat them in court…

    This is Carlini’s MO…

    Just wish Nash paid their bills

  17. 17 AZMACHINIST Nov 7th, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Funny considering the shop I work for made the proto types for these and several others and never was paid… Karma is a bitch…

  18. 18 Tim Nov 7th, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Wow from stealing cars to claiming stolen bars, my, my, my how times have changed

  19. 19 Terence Tory Nov 7th, 2013 at 7:32 am

    The biker world now is as close as a tweet or click of a mouse.Why would anyone buy anything off a company so frivolously litigious as Carlini Designs? Carlini’s boss should be behind bars,gay bars maybe?

    Rash.A patent is only valid in the fullness of time if it can endure a challenge of that validity in a court.We’ll see.

  20. 20 Shanedrive Nov 7th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    All I can say is feeding internal wires through sharp corners (not bends) w/sharp edges on the inside SUX!

    I don’t care who’s bars they may be.

    The only ones built like this that are worth while have an access plug built into them.

    Any customer that comes to me for these types of bars gets told the labor time “is what it is” after explaining the problem to them.

  21. 21 Rick Fairless Nov 7th, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Hey “Hungover”, if you don’t have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut & your hands off the keyboard! I don’t believe that anybody reading this blog is interested in your dimwitted humor! It’s posts like yours that keep me off the blogs. Paul Yaffe is a leader in our industry, so who are you?

  22. 22 Rash Nov 7th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    To Rick Fairless. Positive & negative comments belong to the process of opening the democratic conversation. In the street, like through media, there are some excesses in the way people talk or write. But do you prefer censorship? I notice that it’s not completely true that you stay off the blogs. You just demonstrated that you read at least this one, not only the posts but also the comments.

  23. 23 burnout Nov 7th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    The kids come by my shop with their little bobbers. Their homemade bars look just like someone else’s bars……………………………………..peace

  24. 24 mike chadwick Nov 7th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    what about RSD Kromeworks everybody makes bars that shape- looks to me like they got bent in a crash- just bent apes nothing new there- Mike

  25. 25 mike chadwick Nov 7th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    one thing that never ceases to amaze me is for bent pipe people will pay 4-500 bucks?? surely 1-200 max is realistic- ?? in UK pipe is 7 bucks a foot even allowing for bending / chroming etc how can they cost more than double skinned exhausts with baffles and heat shields and a mounting kit????
    crazy world-

  26. 26 Stephen Nov 7th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    In the IT and Tech sector Carlini would be known as a patent troll. Patent Trolls typically do not produce anything themselves rather they live of the proceeds of law suites. They are universally hated and despised.

    The Carlini bars look like everyone elses so there may be a case for claiming that the designs have been and are in the public domain. My guess is Carlini only brings law suites against sucessful companies as they think the sucessful companies have the cash to pay them to go away.

  27. 27 Bozack Nov 7th, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    This is TJ Carlini right? Same guy who uses chrome shops and machine shops all across the county to R&D shit for him, then goes to other shops, doesn’t pay the R&D and so on?
    To clarify, as I have done in a similar case against somebody VERY famous in Florida, simply show other bars on the market in any example, that were out 3 years ago before Carlini put his patent into the office. If you can’t, TJ wins…if you can…TJ pays Yaffe’s fees too.
    It’s not a trade dress when it’s been done tons of times before, so the design patent, unless it is in perfect replication, is gonna cost TJ more than he’ll get outta Yaffe on it. Damn kids…just go make parts and make some money…if your parts are that much better, all the kids will want your stuff.

  28. 28 Snooz button Nov 7th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    It’s about time Paul gets what’s coming to him. For all you guys who are new to this industry he’s been knocking off parts for years. Carlini should nail him in court. Industry leader my ass. He used to buy his gas tanks from Independent years ago. He sent one off to Canada and had it knocked off to a T. I’m just surprised know one has run him over by now. Nail him to the wall Carlini! Originals my ass!

  29. 29 Andy Nov 7th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Agree with Snooz Button. Paul Yaffe is not so “original”. A lot of industry insiders know this. Many would be happy to see Carlini win.

  30. 30 vince Nov 8th, 2013 at 12:05 am

    If Yaffes bars are confusingly similar to TJs patent and Yaffe is unable to prove that TJs patents are invalid then TJ wins,

    If Yaffe can show that his bars are diffrent enough that they can not be confused with TJs OR that TJs design was already in the public domain (invalidating the patents) then Yaffe wins.

    It will be interesting to see how it turns out. The only way to know is to see the specific bars.

  31. 31 BC in SoCal Nov 8th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Rick F, every week a lot of lames post their rude remarks on Cyril’s blog because they have nothing better to do! BC

  32. 32 Keith Brinton Nov 8th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Seems most of you commenting don’t understand or know much about patent laws. All patents are looked at by the courts as being valid and enforceable until proven otherwise. A lot of people think they can march their friends into a court and say i did this before the patent owner but a judge will never allow that to happen. If Carlini can show that Yaffe’ bars are the same as their bars the burden then shifts from Carlini having to show infringement to Yaffe proving that he or someone else has not only made similar bars before but offered those bars for sale in the public market. In other words Yaffe will have to show an ad or some other print proving the patent is invalid other wise he needs to play nice and cut a deal. No one wins in a case like this but if yaffe is found to be infringing he could lose big. My advise to both sides would be work together and make both parties money. Yaffe is a name that sells products so Carlini should use him to help sell. But that being said Yaffe may not be willing to work with Carlini or vise-versa. Time will tell.

  33. 33 Ray Shaft Nov 8th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    First ever Yaffe incident/issue with another vendor? Hmmm.

  34. 34 Ricky F Nov 8th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Hey Bozack,

    Any evidence to back up what your claiming? sounds to me you’re making very vague references to things you don’t know much about… I read a lot of these comments and only a few people seem to know what theyre talking about. I really hope that Carlini and Yaffe can work it out as they both have contributions to the industry.

  35. 35 Bozack Nov 8th, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Hey Ricky F,
    Sounds like you’re making a vague reference to something you do not know anything about. Why don’t you just look up T Earl LeVere and see who he represents in the industry. I’m being professional about it, because I shut Mr. LeVere and the other party down simply by showing him my product in a CCI catalog and absolutely decimating his claim. I also reminded the attorney when he mentioned “trade dress” that the product in question could not be represented in that suit, because the product was not identifiable in “trade dress”, but instead by the name of the manufacturer.
    When somebody tries to patent something 5 years after a release date, it’s a publicly known product and a patent is ultimately rendered invalid, as the product has been in the hands of the public, sans patent, and therefore the producer of the product has no legal standing in suing somebody over patent infringement.
    If you’re talking in reference to what I mentioned about TJ…ask the right people…they’re all around So. Cal. He’s not allowed in some chrome shops anymore, and he definitely has pushed buttons on more than a few machine shops. I’m guessing because you have had no relationship with him, you’re taking a flying guess, or are mesmerized because of the name his father created.

    Read it again Ricky boy…I said… If Yaffe can prove he had the bar shape on a build, or in production or in any ad before Carlini got his patent a couple years ago, then Yaffe is vindicated. If not, then TJ is vindicated.
    Sounds to me like you’re taking pot shots ace. I’ve written my own patents and had them granted…have you?

  36. 36 Boss Hawg Nov 8th, 2013 at 10:38 pm


    Love ya Brother….

    BUT you must be toking and joking with a such an unparallelled statement regarding Yaffe!

    Boss Hawg

  37. 37 Scott Nov 10th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Paul built a custom bike for me, with custom Yaffe bars. I also have owned a bike that had Carlini (rust at weld) bars on it. The difference is, Paul, and has fabricators put a bend in the bars to help bring them closer to the seat (specifically for my reach, shoulder, etc.) How can you patent a bend geometry.

    I also believe that before you say anything about Paul “stealing” any designs, you take a look at his bikes / designs through the years. Then take a look at some “bagger builders” and see whom is really getting ripped off. Paul made a part for my bike that he called “the scowl”, and faster than my bike was in a magazine another well known AZ builder was selling the part under his own name.

    Paul has high integrity, and because people are always stealing his designs, I believe he is very careful to not do the same.

    Any DB(douche bag) with a lawyer can sue — it’s one of our country’s worst qualities (loser pays is in order)

  38. 38 Sharrack Nov 11th, 2013 at 9:32 am

    In the end….the only winners are the lawyers…..$$$$$$

  39. 39 Halan Nov 11th, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Well Said Ricky Fairless!

  40. 40 DesertH-D Nov 11th, 2013 at 11:24 am

    IMHO, patents are worth less than the paper they are printed on. You can get any damn thing patented these days. The PTO “researches” and as long as there isn’t an ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN’ IDENTICAL patent already out there, then they issue the patent. And sometimes, even if there IS a pretty much identical patent, they still issue!

    Do you really think the bureaucrats that work for the department have the technical understanding of what they are reviewing? With how many million submissions per year? To justify their existence, they do cursory evaluations & research, make the inventor / submitter defend one argument, and then issue. Their view is it’s up to the courts to decide.

    Which is exactly what leads to cases like this…

  41. 41 ron Martin Nov 11th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Yep lawyers are going to make out again so sad

  42. 42 Jason Nov 12th, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I am re-posting as the first one accidentally went to the spam filter. After reading some of the above comments, I couldn’t help it, I had to comment. I was shocked to see this story, not because Carlini was suing, but that PYO was actually being sued. If anything, I was waiting for the day when one of the manufacturers’ that have knocked off one of Paul’s ideas was sued. I guess fortunately for them, he has a little more class than that.
    It’s probably before some of the people who commented were around the motorcycle world, but well over a decade ago when Paul came out with his Monkey Bars and others, there was nobody doing what he was. Nobody. In fact, Paul has discontinued more of his original parts than most people will come up with in their life. I guess someone has to add some balance and voice the other side of this story.
    I’ve been a dealer for PYO/Bagger Nation for several years now, as well as a dealer for Carlini. And those of us who have been around long enough, know the truth, and it isn’t that Carlini’s bars were knocked off by PYO. I am disappointed in this action and it is why I’ve cancelled by dealer account with Carlini.
    I wonder how many of the people commenting are riding around with the HD knockoff of the Klockwerks’ FLARE windshield on their bagger, or another manufacturers’ knockoff of the Super Gas Air Cleaner from RSD/Performance Machine.

  43. 43 madandy Nov 12th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    FYI….Paul copied the monkey bar design from a bar that Mark @ Soncy Road Customs did in the late 90’s, why is it so hard to imagine him copying Carlini Designs? Although I have to give Paul props for some of his creations, he, like everyone else in the industry is just recycling existing ideas with a new twist on them. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didnt Matt Hotch build V-lux on national television with one off curved bars prior to Carlini patenting the idea…..smells like prior art to me y’all. I wonder if Matt is up for giving a deposition?

  44. 44 Snooz button Nov 12th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    How about Paul knocking off Matt’s Pop-Up gas cap, and Kick Stand, How about Fat Katz Fenders? Paul’s fenders look just like Dons. Please don’t say Paul had them first, because he didn’t.
    The list goes on….. If you just buy parts and have never produced a product and had someone STEAL from you. You will never know what it’s like.

  45. 45 Ronnie Nov 12th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    There are other stories circulating regarding PY knocking off and tweaking the curved led license plate and frames manufactured by a company in Canada. If all these stories are true, I wonder why these companies didn’t sue him. It’s a mystery to me, or none of these companies acquired any legal protection of their original designs. It is well known that PY has a big ego, maybe the reason why he attracts so many critics and negative comments.

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