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Archer, Wisk, Boeing reach settlement in trade secret dispute

Archer Aviation, Wisk Aero and The Boeing Company announced Thursday the companies have reached a settlement to resolve state and federal court litigation on undisclosed terms. In 2021 Wisk Aero filed a suit against Archer, alleging the company had misappropriated many of its trade secrets in the development of its eVTOL aircraft. As part of the settlement, Archer agreed to make Wisk the exclusive supplier of autonomous technology for future Archer aircraft variants. In 2023, Wisk became a fully-owned subsidiary of Boeing and as part of the settlement, Boeing invested with Archer to support the integration of Wisk's autonomous technology.RELATED STORIES:5 Minutes with Wisk Aero, discussing the autonomous eVTOLArcher completes first Midnight, prepares for flight testing Archer, which completed the final assembly of the first Midnight aircraft in May, has moved on to the flight-testing phase. Wisk recently made progress of its own, completing the first public demonstration flight of a fully autonomous eVTOL at EAA AirVenture. Wisk has had many firsts in the advanced air mobility sector, including the world's first transition of an eVTOL and the world's first piloted transition flight of a human-rated eVTOL aircraft. Wisk has over a decade of experience and the decision to collaborate rather than solely compete will benefit both parties. Wisk, with other a decade of experience and over 1,600 test flights, has the same mission as Archer to transform air mobility. The future of air transportation and urban travel will be shaped by the integration of eVTOL aircraft and air taxis. Archer was founded just a few years back and has been developing its Maker and Midnight aircraft. The Maker completed its first full wing-borne flight in December and the Midnight is prepping for flight testing after completing its first production and wind tunnel testing. Archer has also been making executive changes of late, including instating former acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen as Chief Safety Officer and co-founder of Uber Elevate Nikhil Goel as CCO. The settlement ends a two-year legal battle with a peaceful, cooperative decision to work together and use the other's skills to benefit them both rather than continue fighting. The lawsuit claimed that Archer founders Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein had hired numerous employees from Wisk and other eVTOL competitors. The suit also alleged that Archer's eVTOL designs were similar to Wisk's designs. The suit stated that Wisk had raised "serious questions going to the merit." The suit also stated that, "its evidence is too uncertain to support findings of a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of hardships sharply favors it," and claimed, "Wisk has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of misappropriation." In the lawsuit, it concludes that Wisk had not adequately demonstrated misappropriation, those harms are too uncertain and speculative at present. Accordingly, even assuming that the analysis above shows that there are ‘serious questions' going to the merits, Wisk has not shown that the other elements tilt far enough in its favor under the sliding-scale approach to warrant the ‘extraordinary and drastic remedy' it seeks." According to Wisk, the company is, "on a journey to deliver safe, autonomous, all-electric, everyday flight." Archer said its mission is to, "unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time." Both companies are working toward a shared goal of improving air mobility safely and efficiently. Now, the settlement will allow both companies to look forward to the growth of the AAM industry and a joint effort to change air transport.
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