Archer and Wisk end long legal feud
Archer and Wisk have reached a settlement to resolve the federal and state court feud.
Although the litigation between the parties was settled on undisclosed terms, the agreement, which also involves Wisk parent company Boeing, will see Boeing come onboard with Archer’s investors. It also lays out a plan to integrate Wisk’s autonomy technology into Archer’s programme.
The announcement came yesterday, just prior to Archer’s second quarter investor’s update where the OEM announced a $215m funding round with participation from Boeing as well as existing investors United, Ark Invest and Stellantis — as well as a number of undisclosed investors. Archer will also issue warrants to Wisk for up to 13.2m shares as part of the settlement.
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO told investors: “I look forward to working with Boeing and Wisk on a collaboration that looks forward to the growth and development of the AAM industry. But that’s not all. As part of the party’s collaboration, we are excited to welcome Boeing as an investor in today’s $215m funding round alongside our other long-time strategic partners, Stellantis and United.”
Wisk is a joint venture between the now-defunct Kittyhawk and Boeing launched in 2019 to develop an autonomous eVTOL, leveraging years of research and testing undertaken at Kittyhawk.
Within a year, Wisk started to lose talent to Archer. Then in April, 2021 Wisk sued Archer, claiming it was virtually impossible for Archer to have produced a clean sheet demonstrator design for its eVTOL in that period of time. Archer responded to the accusation of design and trade secret theft claiming Wisk had filed a patent for an aircraft similar to Maker only after Archer’s founders showed the design to Wisk’s chief engineer in a job interview. Archer then counter claimed citing unfair completion and tortious interference.
With the case due to go to court on August 14, 2023, last month Archer and Wisk requested an extension until September. Now the matter is resolved.
Goldstein said the agreement will substantially reduce their costs in terms of autonomy technology. Archer has focused primarily on developing an electric powertrain and flight controls, its looking for the off-the-shelf solutions for the airframe and subsystems. “As the collaboration matures, we will share further details, but it is important to understand that this puts Archer in a unique position to be able to source autonomy technology from a leader in the industry. This is a natural extension of our overall strategy of focusing our in-house research and development on the key enabling technology that cannot be sourced from the existing aerospace supply base,” he said.
A spokesperson for Wisk told Revolution.Aero: “We are pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable settlement with Archer that resolves our concerns while also eliminating the need for a costly and distracting trial. Wisk is committed to working collaboratively within the industry and leading in autonomous passenger flight. More details of this settlement are provided in Archer’s 8-K filing.”