Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Legal Proceedings

Legal Proceedings
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2017
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Legal Proceedings
Legal Proceedings

The Company is subject to various legal proceedings, claims, and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. While the outcome of these matters is currently not determinable, we do not expect these matters will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. However, the results of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty. Should the Company fail to prevail in any legal matter or should several legal matters be resolved against the Company in the same reporting period, then the financial results of that particular reporting period could be materially adversely affected.

On December 29, 2010, Lufthansa Technik AG (“Lufthansa”) filed a Statement of Claim in the Regional State Court of Mannheim, Germany. Lufthansa’s claim asserts that our subsidiary, AES sold, marketed and brought into use in Germany a power supply system that infringes upon a German patent held by Lufthansa. The relief sought by Lufthansa includes requiring AES to stop selling and marketing the allegedly infringing power supply system, a recall of allegedly infringing products sold to commercial customers since November 26, 2003 and compensation for damages. The claim does not specify an estimate of damages and a damages claim would be pursued by Lufthansa in separate court proceedings.

On February 6, 2015, the Regional State Court of Mannheim, Germany rendered its decision that the patent was infringed. The judgment does not require AES to recall products that are already installed in aircraft or have been sold to other end users.  On July 15, 2015, Lufthansa advised AES of their intention to enforce the accounting provisions of the decision, which required AES to provide certain financial information regarding sales of the infringing product to enable Lufthansa to make an estimate of requested damages. Additionally, if Lufthansa provides the required bank guarantee specified in the decision, the Company may be required to offer a recall of products that are in the distribution channels in Germany. No such bank guarantee has been issued to date. As of September 30, 2017, there are no products in the distribution channels in Germany.

The Company appealed to the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe.  On November 15, 2016, the Court issued its ruling and upheld the lower court’s decision.  The Company has submitted a petition to grant AES leave for appeal to the Federal Supreme Court. The Company believes it has valid defenses to refute the decision.  Should the Federal Supreme Court decide to hear the case, the appeal process is estimated to extend up to two years. We estimate AES’s potential exposure related to this matter to be approximately $1 million to $3 million. As loss exposure is not probable at this time, the Company has not recorded any liability with respect to this litigation as of September 30, 2017.

On November 26, 2014, Lufthansa filed a complaint in the United States District for the Western District of Washington. Lufthansa’s complaint in this action alleges that AES manufactures, uses, sells and offers for sale a power supply system that infringes upon a U.S. patent held by Lufthansa. The patent at issue in the U.S. action is based on technology similar to that involved in the German action. On April 25, 2016, the Court issued its ruling on claim construction, holding that the sole independent claim in the patent is indefinite, rendering all claims in the patent indefinite. Based on this ruling, AES filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the Court’s ruling that the patent is indefinite renders the patent invalid and unenforceable. On July 20, 2016, the U.S. District Court granted the motion for summary judgment and issued an order dismissing all claims against AES with prejudice.

Lufthansa appealed the District Court's decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. On October 19, 2017, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that the sole independent claim of the patent is indefinite, rending all claims on the patent indefinite. Lufthansa has until November 20, 2017, to ask for rehearing or rehearing en banc. If it does not file such a petition, it has until January 18, 2018, to file a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. As loss exposure is neither probable nor estimable at this time, the Company has not recorded any liability with respect to this litigation as of September 30, 2017.