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

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

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

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Wisk Aero and Archer Aviation will enter mediation for the second time at the end of March, nearly two years after the rivals began a bitter legal battle over Wisk’s allegations that the air taxi newcomer stole trade secrets, learned TechCrunch exclusive.


“We remain open to a possible resolution of the matter, but we strongly believe that Wisk’s claims are without merit,” a spokesperson for Archer said of the mediation. TechCrunch has reached out to Wisk for comment and will update the story if they respond.

The two companies first entered mediation at some point before October 25 last year. According to a transcript of an Oct. 25 Zoom call between attorneys for the parties and the trade secret prosecution judge, an attorney representing Wisk said the companies conducted mediation but it failed. Wisk’s attorney, Yuri Kapgan, told the court that despite the previous failure, Wisk was not opposed to another settlement conference or private mediation.

“We are certainly open to exploring the possibilities of resolving this case,” agreed Josh Krevitt, the attorney representing Archer.

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

“It doesn’t seem like the pain of litigation motivates your clients as a reason to settle, so hopefully there might be something else that does – that a wise person helps them see the benefits of resolution. “, he said.

Mediation is often used in trade secret disputes because the process remains confidential. Confidentiality may be particularly important to the plaintiff in an intellectual property case, as they may wish to avoid sensitive information being disclosed in public records or in the jury trial. Trade secret lawsuits in particular can also be complicated, time-consuming and costly on both sides, leading many attorneys to recommend meditation or settlement.

Wisk and Archer have been locked in a bitter trade secrets lawsuit for nearly two years. Both companies are developing electric aircraft. Archer, which was founded in 2018, wants to develop an air taxi service by 2024; the company has signed a major partnership with United Airlines to launch the service, with the first proposed route connecting Newark Liberty International Airport to the downtown Manhattan heliport in New York City.

Wisk, a company spun off from a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, is developing an autonomous four-seat aircraft. The company unveiled its sixth-generation Air Taxi in October last year, with the company saying it intended to submit the vehicle for certification with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Wisk filed a lawsuit against Archer in April 2021, alleging newcomer eVTOL engaged in “brazen theft” of intellectual property and trade secrets. Since then, the legal battle has only escalated, with Archer later asking the court to award him $1 billion in damages for the lawsuit. If mediation fails, Wisk and Archer have agreed to a schedule that will see their trial begin on August 14, according to court documents.


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