Yeah, that’s click and link bait.
I gathered from research that what’s actually happening is G3 won a judgment in a lawsuit for patent infringement by Marker, at least in part due to the similarity of the brake “hold down” retainer system that’s used in touring mode.
Panic is probably not necessary. Though it could have been fun listening to German language cursing which no doubt occurred. Is there a podcast?
Apparently Marker has pulled product from US sites in recognition of infringement of the G3 patent (though as of this writing, it appears Kingpin is still available at Backcountry dot com). The full judgment and court order is still pending. Ultimate outcome is thus still unknown but I’d imagine there will be a settlement that includes a licensing fee. Not exactly rending the fabric of the known ski universe.
Firstly, we’re understanding this may only apply in North America. Secondly, we’d imagine Marker will negotiate a settlement and continue selling their heavy duty hybrid tech binding. Thirdly, while we’ve seen statements as to the binding “not being on the Marker website!” our understanding is that Marker’s whole internet presence is being redesigned and the binding isn’t shown on the North American site for that reason — though yes that could be spin and we entertain the notion that Kingpin is off North American site because of this lawsuit.
I know a lot of people in manufacturing. They’ve all told me at one time or another that this sort of patent dispute is very common. Happens for a lot of reasons: People think up the same stuff at around the same time, but the first patent filed is the only one. Sometimes companies do know they’re doing something similar to a patent, but the proceed anyway with redesigns to differentiate, and plan on legal maneuvers if necessary. Unless you’re a fly on the wall of both G3 and Marker, I’d advise not taking sides.
Google it up and you’ll find several articles.
The biggest chuckle in all this? It’s well known that both Marker and ION brakes tend to be finicky in how well they stay stowed in the touring position. Here at WildSnow, we like either having no brakes, or a brake that’s entirely divorced from the binding. We have to laugh at two companies fighting over what might be a problematic design. If Marker changes their brake instead of paying a license fee, that might make the world a better place. Ironic.
Interesting, but a bit of a yawner as well. One ski shop owner told me he’s had a 48 hour run on Kingpins. Get ’em while you can !?
Summer reading, we have a ton of Marker Kingpin content.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.