Tool Maker Loses Lawsuit For Not Violating Another Company's Patents

from the exclusivity? dept

Patent system supporters regularly point (slightly misleadingly) to the claim that the patent system gives patent holders the right to exclude others from using their inventions. And, thus, most lawsuits we see around patents revolve around cases involving a company manufacturing a product that includes a patented invention. But what about a lawsuit for a company that deliberately chose not to license or use a patented technology, because it was too expensive?

Welcome to today's world.

A few years back, there was a lot of attention paid to videos from a company called SawStop that made a pretty cool product that protected your fingers from a table saw. You may have seen the videos:
The company tried to license the invention to various table saw makers, but after evaluating the technology, many were not convinced how well it worked and felt that the cost was way too high (both for themselves, and for consumers). In fact, some appeared to fear that if they did adopt this technology and then someone still got hurt, they were asking for a big lawsuit for promoting this technology as a safety feature.

But what about the other way around? Could someone be so bold as to actually sue for using a table saw that did not have this technology?

ChurchHatesTucker alerts us to the story of a lawsuit in Boston that involved a guy whose hand was damaged in a table saw accident while using a table saw from Ryobi. The guy's complaint was that Ryobi should have included this technology and that it should be required to protect hands. And, amazingly, the jury sided with the guy.

Yes, you read that right. The jury effectively claimed that any table saw maker is liable for injuries if it does not license this technology and build it into its table saws.

That, of course, conflicts with that basic "exclusivity" part of patent law -- and would effectively mean that SawStop has now been given total defacto control over who can be allowed to sell table saws in the US. That clearly is not what the law was intended to do. The government should never require companies to have to purchase a patent license for a technology they don't believe the market wants. And, in this case, the ruling has resulted in numerous other lawsuits against other table saw makers -- and a near guarantee that the price of table saws will go way up. Old saws can't be retrofitted, and table saw makers need to totally change their manufacturing process and greatly increase costs to offer this technology.

This seems blatantly wrong. If the government is going to require companies to use a patented technology, it seems that the only reasonable solution is to remove the patent on it and allow competition in the market place.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    IP Maximist, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    "If the government is going to require companies to use a patented technology, it seems that the only reasonable solution is to remove the patent on it and allow competition in the market place. "

    But no one is forcing you to use a saw.

     

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  2.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    He should be suing the government for putting in laws that dissuade companies from adding safety technology to their products.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re:

    but doesn't the government have something equivalent to sovereign immunity or something?

     

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  4.  
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    Nathan, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:06am

    if you think nothing can beat the idiocy of elected officials...just take a look at the people sitting in the average jury box.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:12am

    Without patents, nobody would invent anything ever!
    Without copyrights, nobody would create anything ever!
    Without trademarks, nobody would name anything ever!

    IP stands for imaginary privilege.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    "IP stands for imaginary privilege."

    I'm going to use that from now on. I hope you don't mind me "stealing" your idea, I won't be hearing from your lawyers will I?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    When are people going to learn personal responsibility? Freedom of choice comes with responsibilities, get used to it. I for one do not want the government taking away my choices. I'm tired of laws/regulations designed to protect me from myself. I'll take responsibility for myself.

     

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  8.  
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    Dr. Imabeg Nhoitaul, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re: Nathan

    Great point that seems to be lost on the author and most everyone else. This was the JURY's decision, NOT the government's. I would HOPE that it gets reversed on appeal. Remember, never let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymouse, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Invalidates Patent?

    So, wouldn't this ruling then invalidate the sawstop patent? If every saw requires that this safety feature be included, wouldn't it be like a seatbelt?

     

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  10.  
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    A Dan (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    This, my thinking-inclined friends, is why you should not try to get out of jury duty. I've done it recently; I thought it was kind of fun. Just remember to bring a long book for whenever you're not in the courtroom.

    I always find it depressing that, if I were on trial, most of the people in the jury would be the people not smart enough to get out of it.

     

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  11.  
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    Rob, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Oh wow. Let stupid people die.

    This reminds me of the old saying... "Remove all warning labels and let mother nature take it's course."

     

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  12.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:34am

    "And, amazingly, the jury sided with the guy"

    No, what's amazing is that the judge didn't kick the case out prior to trial. This will be overturned, I have no doubt about that.

     

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  13.  
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    Simon, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Sawstop make their own saws with this technology - so effectively the guy (or his employer) chose to use a saw without this feature.

    Now up here in Canada, I assume that if all saws adopted this technology we could add a levy to each sale that goes to micro-surgeons that specialise in reattaching fingers in order to compensate them for loss of business?

     

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  14.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re:

    You can't steal it, I already had the idea of stealing it myself. So you lose.

     

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  15.  
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    Greg, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    This is very similar to the government mandating that you put seatbelts and airbags in cars, only in this case someone holds a patent on the technology in question, which I don't believe is an issue with seatbelts (though I wouldn't put it past someone to try and patent them, and the Patent Office to grant it).

    I don't see a particular problem with government-mandated safety regulations. It's definitely a slippery slope towards the "nanny state" when you're required to prevent people from chopping off their fingers, but it's not like we don't already have building codes for construction, crash testing for cars, FDA standards for food and drugs, etc.

    It would be nice if they invalidated the patent or granted an exception, because it does seem unfair to force saw-makers to license this from StopSaw, but it's not like government and business have ever been about being fair. It probably comes down to whether StapSaw or Ryobi have better lobbyists, and even then I'm pretty sure this is one of those rulings that everyone will ignore until someone sees a chance to make money or get re-elected by making a big fuss out of it.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm going to steal his idea and then I'm going to steal your idea of stealing his idea.

     

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  17.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    I don't see a particular problem with government-mandated safety regulations.

    What about a jury-mandated safety regulation where no one was grandfathered in? The government never said saws have to have this feature, yet a company is now being fined (sued) for not having it.

    Three-fingered shop instructors everywhere are about to become very, very rich.

     

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  18.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re:

    The government can't be sued for patent infringement (or was that copyright infringement), but it can be sued for just about anything else.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    I'm not a product liability expert, isn't a company liable if their product doesn't meet what was currently defined as state of the art at the time of manufacture for product safety?

    So, the argument I would see is that the jury was convinced that the current state of the art is that there is a technology out there that will protect fingers from being chopped out, and that this technology wasn't implemented. It's not so much about the patent, even if they are the only ones with any tech that can do this.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Tool Maker Loses Lawsuit For Not Violating Another Company's Patents

    Misleading and inaccurate headline.

    This was a case pertaining the purported negligence and breach of implied warranties by a manufacturer (Ryobi) and seller (Home Depot) of table saws. Tort cases such as this are commonplace and have absolutely nothing to do with patent law.

    The only relevance of the invention (and not the patent), which you seem intent on using to blast patent law in general, was that it represented one example of technical means by which the risk of harm presented by table saws could be mitigated. In other words, technical solutions were available or could have been developed and incorporated into their table saw designs for risk mitigation, but for various reasons the defendants chose not to do so.

    Blame tort law if you disagee with the result, but to try and place some measure of blame at the feet of patent law is disingenuous.

     

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  21.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Hairbrained Argument

    Mike Masnick, I understand that you dislike inventors and patents, perhaps due to feelings of inadequacy, but this is really incredibly harebrained reasoning.

    The government is not mandating use of this invention, the court simply said that a company which allows a user to be injured is liable.

    This situation is where the patent system shines, in that other saw makers now have a reason to try and produce an alternative invention. I have a friend who has one of these saws and have looked at it. Without even trying I can see ways to improve this.

    This is not an area which I am interested in working because I believe that my time is best spent protecting America's inventors from parasitic interests like transnational companies and hordes of their stooges but it is a great opportunity for someone.

    You say "Old saws can't be retrofitted". I can see ways to retrofit, can you? Maybe you should invent another way to stop the blade, that is if you can, and then spend lots of time and money to create an alternative and then give it away? That would warm my heart.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Mike Masnick, I understand that you dislike inventors and patents"

    When you claim

    "I am speaking only on my own behalf."

    You are telling a lie. Apparently you speak on behalf of Mike as well.

    "The government is not mandating use of this invention, the court simply said that a company which allows a user to be injured is liable."

    The government is not outlawing free speech, they are simply putting those who protest the government in jail or, worse, executing them.

     

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  23.  
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    Michael Kohne, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    This is rich...

    So, basically, the jury has given SawStop the power to decide who gets to make table saws. But, SawStop is in the table saw business! Ryobi is their competition, and SawStop's differentiating factor is it's safety technology.

    So, in effect, the jury has handed SawStop an anti-trust suit.

    For all that they are trying to do good, I wouldn't want to be the SawStop guys right now - I think things are about to get really unfortunate over there.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "This is not an area which I am interested in working because I believe that my time is best spent protecting America's inventors from parasitic interests like transnational companies and hordes of their stooges but it is a great opportunity for someone."

    Amusing, coming from the guy running 3 parasitic organizations (and a dead person).

     

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  25.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    You have hit on the root cause of our problems, judges that are unwilling to throw out nonsense like this. If Judges would step up and punish the lawyers that repeatedly bring garbage like this into the judicial system it would stop.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "This is not an area which I am interested in working"

    Because you are too stupid to innovate and instead would rather take time away from innovation to defend a broken IP system.

    "believe that my time is best spent protecting America's inventors "

    More like you are protecting the lawyers instead. Inventors exist perfectly well without IP and don't need your alleged protection.

    "Without even trying I can see ways to improve this. "

    and have patents done anything to help you in producing a better product and releasing it and getting it voluntarily accepted by the free market (ie: not by the force of some government regime, as if the government is somehow better at determining what's in the public interest than the free market).

     

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  27.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "the court simply said that a company which allows a user to be injured is liable."

    Damn it, I hit my thumb with a hammer. Where's my lawyer?

    "You say "Old saws can't be retrofitted". I can see ways to retrofit, can you?"

    Did you actually watch the damn video? That's not a retrofit, that's a tear down and replace.

    "Maybe you should invent another way to stop the blade"

    Why do that? There's already a perfectly usable and non-patented tool that will keep your hand away from the blade. I forgot what it's called but it's basically a hunk of wood that you use to push what you're cutting while keeping your hand away from the blade. There, I gave that idea away. I hope your heart is properly warmed.

    You need to stop putting your affiliations, you give them a bad name.

     

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  28.  
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    Nathan, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    as the rightful patent holder on "4 1/2 Finger" gloves, I am pissed that the judicial system is tampering with the future of my potential market

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Theres no point in punishing lawyers, thats like killing off all the cockroachs in New York City.

     

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  30.  
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    need that thing?, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    You don't really

    Just keep your fingers away from the blade. It's a dangerous tool with a lot of power. KEEP YOUR FINGERS A-W-A-WAY.

     

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  31.  
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    Simon, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    So you can see a way to improve the technology and retrofit it - yet choose to keep it a secret. If I ever have a unfortunate accident, can I sue you?

     

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  32.  
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    Speaker, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    What next?

    So does this mean that every band saw used in a butcher's shop will need to have these safety devices? Where is personal responsibility in all this? I don't know if this guy was a complete idiot, but I have never lost my fear of the spinning blades of death on my saw. Didn't he read the "don't stick your hand in the saw blade" part of the manual? Even my 30 year old table saw has that in the instructions, plus a warning label.

     

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  33.  
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    Simon, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: What next?

    ...every band saw used in a butcher's shop
    Given that saw breaks whenever it comes into contact with flesh, I going to say that this might be a problem.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Re: You don't really

    Or better yet, cross your fingers hope to die, stick a needle in your eye.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    I really don't see how this is patent law's fault. This sounds more like interpretation of patent law that is broken. (The judicial system.)

    I see this as the beginning of the table saw waiver. "If you use this product, you waive all rights to a lawsuit where you are harmed by a machine functioned as designed."

    I'm also betting this will get appealled.

    Does anyone believe in personal liability anymore?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    I got an idea, and it's not patentable. You wear a glove that has a bunch of bar codes or some unique signature. Around the blade is some sensors, like bar code sensors or something, that sense if your hand is coming to close to the blade. If it does, it immediately stops the blade (though the immediate stop is probably bad for the machine, being that it requires a lot of jerk and hence will add stress, it's probably better than hurting your hand).

     

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  37.  
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    Barry Callahan, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Seatbelts, Airbags, and Patents

    Some people have drawn parallels between this and seatbelts and airbags in cars, and I agree, wholeheartedly.

    Before seatbelts were mandatory in cars in the US, while they were "optional" equipment, people sued car makers because they allowed the customer to choose to buy a car without seatbelts. In every case, the car maker lost. Nevermind that it was the customer's own fault that they chose to save money by getting a car without seatbelts.

    Same story with airbags.

    None of those lawsuits got their judgements overturned on appeal. Instead, seatbelts and airbags are mandated by law.

    Don't be at all surprised if, in the not distant future, SawStop becomes mandated by law on saws.

    And seatbelts *were* patented. The first US patent on a seatbelt was issued in 1885. See: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_seat_belts.htm

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:29am

    Re: Seatbelts, Airbags, and Patents

    yeah, but was the seatbelt mandated before or after the patent expired (Hint, patents last 20 years and "Volvo had the first safety belts in 1949")

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seat_belt#History

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Nathan

    "This was the JURY's decision, NOT the government's."

    but it's enforced by the government.

     

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  40.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Sooooo...

    does this mean we can now sue car makers who don't have airbags in the back or side impact protection? The patents exists surely every car maker should be using them.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Seatbelts, Airbags, and Patents

    It's also important to note that a seat belt, even with a patent, is probably not that big of a cost factor when compared to the cost of a car. However, requiring this patented device to be installed on so many saws could make it a relatively larger cost factor for at least some saws.

     

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  42.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    The only relevance of the invention (and not the patent), which you seem intent on using to blast patent law in general, was that it represented one example of technical means by which the risk of harm presented by table saws could be mitigated.

    Speaking of misleading and innacurate, the point you're trying to make above is both. The problem is that the fact that SawStop holds the patent on this techology means you can't hide behind the "one example" clause. The issue of course is that if there were any other examples of this kind of "flesh detecting technology", they'd be sued by SawStop so fast, it'd make their heads spin! Based on my reading of the linked article, the lawsuit wasn't that Ryobi didn't use some hypothetical "other" safety technology that may or may not actually exist; the lawsuit was about them not using "a flesh-detecting technology like SawStop's" that, by definition of how the patent system works, could only be SawStop's technology. It's a Hobson's Choice.

     

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  43.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Sooooo...

    Or maybe I could sue the car manufacturer if my car is stolen. It was made long after car alarms were invented and started being installed, but mine doesn't have one.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "I forgot what it's called but it's basically a hunk of wood that you use to push what you're cutting while keeping your hand away from the blade."

    I used to just call that a "guide." There's probably a more official term, though.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Nathan

    "This was the JURY's decision, NOT the government's."

    The government is composed of people who act on behalf of the government. Yes, this unelected jury is supposed to represent the people, but when it makes these sort of decisions it's acting on behalf of the government (the government itself is supposed to represent the people).

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Sooooo...

    or maybe because it has no LoJack

     

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  47.  
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    Scott (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    :(

    This post makes me sad. I have usually come to expect better from techdirt.

    The government has not mandated this technology be used.

    "It's too expensive" Is ALWAYS the reason behind companies wanting products to be less safe. This is why various government agencies mandate certain safety features in cars, airplanes, and consumer products.

    Some or many of them are patented. But so what, there are many ways to innovate around a certain need using different methods. SawStop does not own a patent on every single possible way to stop a saw from hurting you.

     

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  48.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Nathan

    Great point that seems to be lost on the author and most everyone else. This was the JURY's decision, NOT the government's. I would HOPE that it gets reversed on appeal. Remember, never let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

    I said in the post: "the jury sided with the guy" so you are wrong that this point was lost on me. But once the jury decides, it is effectively the same as the gov't saying so -- because the gov't through the judicial system enforces.

     

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  49.  
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    Ben Ursa, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    S... happens and somebody has to pay

    IMNAL. I have not read the details of this case.

    Many personal injury lawsuits are won on the basis of the fact that the accused should have known of the existence of a better method, technology, ... and did not use it.

    The patent is not the issue. The issue is reasonable (to the jury) design of safety into a product.

    I suspect the jury only established that a reasonable maker of this kind of device should have included a safety device that would have prevented this kind of injury. The patent only provides evidence that such a device is possible.

    The current insanity in the US court system is that someone, other than yourself, has to pay when you fail to operate a obviously dangerous device correctly.

    Having bashed my thumb with a hammer I am expecting Sears to compensate me for my pain and suffering!

     

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  50.  
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    RD, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Mike Masnick, I understand that you dislike inventors and patents, perhaps due to feelings of inadequacy, but this is really incredibly harebrained reasoning."

    Yeah, start off with an insult instead of an argument. Nice job.

    "The government is not mandating use of this invention, the court simply said that a company which allows a user to be injured is liable."

    RTFA.

    "This situation is where the patent system shines, in that other saw makers now have a reason to try and produce an alternative invention. I have a friend who has one of these saws and have looked at it. Without even trying I can see ways to improve this."

    Cant. Patents would prevent this. Remember, you cant create something similar or "derivative" or improve it or its infringing.

    "This is not an area which I am interested in working because I believe that my time is best spent protecting America's inventors from parasitic interests like transnational companies and hordes of their stooges but it is a great opportunity for someone."

    Well, there we agree.

    "You say "Old saws can't be retrofitted". I can see ways to retrofit, can you? Maybe you should invent another way to stop the blade, that is if you can, and then spend lots of time and money to create an alternative and then give it away? That would warm my heart."

    Cant. Would infringe the patent as noted above. Arent allowed to improve/modify something and call it your own. This is what monopoly rights are all about.

    Now, if this guy doesnt already have a patent on this invention, much of the above is moot. But under the patent system, none of your suggestions would work.

     

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  51.  
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    DannyB, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    I seem to recall, sometime back, a similar lawsuit for NOT using a patented escalator safety device.

     

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  52.  
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    DannyB, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    I seem to recall, sometime back, a similar lawsuit for NOT using a patented escalator safety device.

     

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  53.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    I seem to recall, sometime back, a similar lawsuit for NOT using a patented escalator safety device.

     

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  54.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re:

    When are people going to learn personal responsibility?

    Never. We've done our best to eliminate all methods of teaching that would instill in children the idea that their choices and actions have consequences.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    Nobody holds a patent on a "technology". If someone does hold a patent, it is limited to a specific implementation within a technology field. Others are always free to come up with their own implementations.

     

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  56.  
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    Nate, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    I would expect...

    That is, if I didn't know better, that the government would have to license any technology that they mandate.

     

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  57.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Quoting Myself

    "From http://www.piausa.org
    "Conserving the American Patent System is the only way to preserve our technological and economic future!
    (This is not alarmist, this is serious and it is true!)"
    *** Actually that is 'Patently' untrue, as Mike and others have have pointed out on multiple occasions many economic models thrive without using patents.

    From http://www.inventored.org
    *** Other than the fact that this site appears to have been designed sometime in the early 1990's (Although the other two were not much better). I did not notice any blatant misinformation I did notice this...
    "Page last revised 10-10-2008"

    From http://www.patentpolicy.org
    "Many experts contend that the United States Patent and Trademark Office is the cornerstone to the U.S. economy."
    *** Many experts contend the exact opposite as well, evidence please.
    "The USPTO's ability to prosecute and track new invention is one of the most significant dimensions of U.S. competitiveness around the world."
    *** Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha

    If you choose to be a Troll/Shill Please at least do so with some respect for our intelligence, and quit spamming us with your ridiculous signature.
    [/rant]"

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    All ski hills are therefore liable for not outfitting me with a complete airbag(not referring to lawyers here) ski suit so I do not injure myself when running into a tree because I never learned how to avoid them.

    I do not want to take responsibility for my actions... WAAAAA!

    Its like the couple that went hiking in the middle of winter and got lost. They however did not notify anyone that they were doing this. They were from a different area of the country so didn't know the area. Nobody knew they were out there. The wife dies but the husband survives. Now he sues because the volunteer rescue people didn't look for him.

    WAAAAA!

     

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  59.  
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    Who Needs Facts?, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    You make it sound like it's government conspiring to force everyone into patent licenses. These guys came up with some safety technology that supposedly works. The PTO issued patents on it. In a completely unrelated incident, a guy got injured by someone who refused to add these safety standards, and the jury believed that felt short of a reasonable standard of care. There are multiple checks and balances involved, including a jury of non-politicians. There's no conspiracy here. Everyone else thought it was okay... except for you.

    Decades ago, there were multiple patents on glass that when broken, was covered in laminate, and yet, even if the laminate broke, the glass was tempered, so it would break into thousands of small beads instead of large slashing pieces. Negligence lawsuits erupted over the failure to include these types of glass in everything from shower doors to car windshields. Now, something that is so widespread that you probably never even noticed it, and it's made everyone safer, yet you're complaining over this exact process that has made you so much safer that you don't even realize it.

     

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  60.  
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    MatW, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    "I for one do not want the government taking away my choices. I'm tired of laws/regulations designed to protect me from myself."

    Part of the problem is that, if you did manage to chop your hand off, where are you going to go? The ER. Sure, you may have insurance, you may not. You may pay all your bill up front, or in payments or not at all. You potentially effect the cost of health care, in part, due to your taking responsibility for yourself (or, we all pay the consequences for your choice).

    Sure, we can de-regulate the law, no longer requiring seat belts being worn, but that would result in more deaths in automobile accidents and car insurance would rise for everybody.

    It is this selfish Ayn Randian mentality that blinds people into thinking that it is only about them and to Hell with anyone else; when in fact we all pay the consequences or everyone's actions. Sure, if one person did it, it probably wouldn't make a big enough impact to effect everyone else, but it isn't just that one person. S/he is the proverbial drop of water in the ocean.

     

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  61.  
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    JB, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    Wow...

     

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  62.  
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    JB, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    ...Wow...

     

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  63.  
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    JB, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Wasn't there a similar lawsuit about Escalator safety?

    ...and Wow! Three in a row...man you are on Fire!

     

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  64.  
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    ChadBroChill (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    NOOOOO!!!!

    I would hate to have this on all saws! It would interfere with my hot dog cutting business. We use table saws exclusively to hack up hot dogs into bite size chunks that children wont choke on. The government needs to protect my business!!!!!

     

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  65.  
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    Just a lowly inventor, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Without patent attorneys and US patent law (which arguably needs an overhaul in several key areas), lowly inventors (like me)and the backbone-of-America companies that employ us would not even exist. Your tirade clearly indicates a lack of knowledge, irrational and misplaced anger, and ignorance. I am always amused by laypersons who are outraged about the protections patents afford, while egregiously ignorant of the business, financial, and intellectual investments that are put at risk if no system existed at all.

    Like the victim of your written assault, I can also see numerous methods by which a saw manufacturer might better secure safety for the user. But I am not ignorant of market dynamics and free market competition, as you seem to be. Ryobi can't and won't compete against other manufacturers if the cost of their product is prohibitive, in the mind of the potential buyer. Consumers and businessed buy solutions, not safety, so competitively priced products trump patent innovation that produces anything that where the cost-benefits-analysis don't work out advantageously.

    The USPTO actually protects the free market, bonehead, and those who make the huge investments that it takes to bring a product to market (otherwise, bonehead, it is easily stolen, the investment worthless, and NO THINKING PERSON would EVER develop anything ever again).

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    "There's no conspiracy here. "

    Who said anything about an intentional conspiracy. The effect, however, is the same.

    "Everyone else thought it was okay... except for you."

    Rather, everyone thinks it's NOT ok, except you,

     

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  67.  
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    woodworker, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Real woodworker speaks up

    Okay, now for someone who actually works in this business and has knowledge of this.

    The "hunk of wood" mentioned is called a PUSH STICK. You can make your own, and the manual for Ryobi's table saw comes with plans for one. You can also buy several fancy ones (the Grripper is good choice if you insist on running without the blade guard). Blade guards exist to keep your hand away from the blade, and WHEN YOU LEAVE THEM ON, work great.

    I remember reading about a blind Canadian woodworker who had all of his fingers and thumbs. He did this BY NEVER PUTTING HIS HAND PAST THE FRONT OF THE SAW. This is a simple rule that anyone can follow, and use a push stick to keep your hand at least 6 inches away.

    The problem is that most table saws have a crappy blade guard, so when you need to make either a non-through cut, or a very narrow cut, you tend to leave the blade guard off. This can be solved by using an after-market guard that can be quick-on-off-back-on, such as the Shark Guard. The new Unisaw is supposed to have a better guard, but that's a $3500 tool.

    The operator of the table saw in question violated a LOT of basic safety procedures, and got hurt as the result. SawStop tried like hell to ram their tech down the throats of everyone years ago, pissing everyone off, but apparently finally listened to a lot of people on various WW boards to simply make their own saw. They did, and their saws are *very* good, and compete very well with the same price-point saws. However, if they are insisting of support stuff like this in order to MAKE people buy their tech, they are going to find themselves wallet-voted out of existence very fast.

    The jury ruling was made by people who had zero clue what was going on, and voted based on emotion. I fully expect that this will be overturned on appeal.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Nobody holds a patent on a "technology"."

    You mean like the one click buy patent that amazon has or the no swinging sideways patent or the patent on the wheel?

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "The USPTO actually protects the free market"

    You actually believe this contradiction?

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Seems that the injured person failed to properly research the available marketplace for a table saw. If he felt the need for an idiot-proof saw, he would have located the saw with the safety feature he expected Ryobi to have.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Without patent attorneys and US patent law (which arguably needs an overhaul in several key areas), lowly inventors (like me)and the backbone-of-America companies that employ us would not even exist."

    Do you honestly expect me to believe this baseless scare mongering? Free markets produce more aggregate output, patents are a distortion of the free market, and increased aggregate output requires more employees to produce it.

    As far as attorneys not existing, we would still have attorneys, but there would be fewer of them and the percentage of useful things they contribute to would increase. Society is better off if the attorneys that wasted time on IP litigation used that time more constructively to innovate and contribute to producing actual goods and services instead of wasting everyone else's time and money for no good reason.

    "Like the victim of your written assault, I can also see numerous methods by which a saw manufacturer might better secure safety for the user."

    So we have patents in place, why hasn't this system produced them?

    "Consumers and businessed buy solutions, not safety, so competitively priced products trump patent innovation that produces anything that where the cost-benefits-analysis don't work out advantageously."

    So then where are these competitively priced products that don't violate this patent, if the patent system is so useful at producing them. And where are the non patented competitively priced products that these patents are supposed to encourage the innovation of?

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Others are always free to come up with their own implementations."

    So if the patent system encourages this, then were are all these other implementations that others are free to come up with? Has any of them sold? and, notice how I'm not asking for patents to these other implementations, I'm asking for proof that others actually sell them.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If this case stands up on appeal I daresay you will see a host of such other implementations.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Without patent attorneys and US patent law (which arguably needs an overhaul in several key areas), lowly inventors (like me)and the backbone-of-America companies that employ us would not even exist."

    Creating artificial jobs only harms the economy by taking away jobs from more relevant market needs and directing them to less relevant ones. You need to take an econ 101 course.

     

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  75.  
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    Bram Cohen, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    To be fair to Sawstop, there's no clear reason to think they've done anything wrong. It's quite likely that the main cost of adding the new safety technology isn't the patent licensing costs, but in the rather extensive enhancements it requires to the machine itself. A friend of mine got a Sawstop, not particularly because he cares about the safety feature, but because it's by far the best table saw on the market.

    You're right that there's the potential that Sawstop *could* do something unethical, if there are more lawsuits and their safety technology becomes de facto necessary, and they then charge exhorbitant rates for license to their patent, that might raise some serious ethical issues. For the meantime though, I'm inclined to view them as good inventors who make a good product which has saved many peoples's fingers so far and which they tried to license out on what I'm willing to assume were completely reasonable terms. The real bad guys here are the other table saw manufacturers, who had access to a finger-saving technology and chose to ignore it in the interest of preserving short-term profits, and are now rightfully getting the smackdown for it. This story would probably have played out the same way whether or not there was a patent on the Sawstop safety device.

    That said, a private company having a patent on a crucial safety technology raises some serious potential ethical problems, but there isn't particularly strong reason to think that those have happened yet in this case. At least it's clear that Sawstop are actual table saw manufacturers, and good ones at that, rather than patent trolls.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    "To be fair to Sawstop, there's no clear reason to think they've done anything wrong. "

    Actually their patent is probably the closest example of a good patent that I've seen in a long time. It would be nice if more patents actually made sense. and the reason this is a good patent is because it's a NEW solution to an OLD problem (rather than a new solution to a new problem, like the one click buy patent is). Saws have been around for a long time.

    But still, the way it turned out is ridiculous. The legal system should absolutely not require all saws to have a patented product unless it also provides a REASONABLE upper licensing fee that can be charged (but with our legal system the word reasonable could mean anything, just like "to promote the progress" has been stretched to mean allowing a single click buy patent continued existence).

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    and I would also argue that the seatbelt idea is an example of a good patent as well. Of course a legal system that requires a company to use a patented product in each car shouldn't be allowed unless that legal system subsequently required a reasonable upper limit in terms of licensing fees as well. But the overwhelming majority of patents, I would say, are nonsense and shouldn't exist being that they never even make it to a product (and the constitution requires that IP promotes the progress and a dead patent that doesn't make it to product does nothing to promote the progress).

     

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  78.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Ok where to start,
    "Part of the problem is that, if you did manage to chop your hand off, where are you going to go? The ER. Sure, you may have insurance, you may not. You may pay all your bill up front, or in payments or not at all. You potentially effect the cost of health care, in part, due to your taking responsibility for yourself (or, we all pay the consequences for your choice)."
    What you are purposing here is that if he takes responsiblity then your cost go up, thats an unfounded position from the start. The first step of personal responsiblitiy is just that: if you mess up (or mangle a hand) YOU have to deal with it. YOU pay the costs. YOU figure out how YOU are going to work or what ever. Your position is that some how by him using a service and paying for it (thus the cost is on him and him alone) it causes your rates/and or service to go up, that goes against basic economics. The only time a rate would go up is when DEAD BEATS cheat the system, or MEDICARE tells them the cost will be .05% of the real cost, so to re-coup a loss they must charge more on something else.

    As a personal example, my 2 month old son just spent 2 weeks in the one of the best childrens hospitals on the planet, it wasnt cheap, but because of the care he recieved, i still have my son. The cost of that stay was about 200,000. I have insurance that i pay for out of my own pocket, I got it the day i found out i would be a father, i got it for him, my wife, and my self in case something happened. Well it did, and i did the resposible thing, and now I still have to PAY for about 20,000 of the care. I do not whine about it, I do not sue, i do not complain to the Government, I took responsiblity for the care he recieved and the contract i signed, went to the hospital and spoke to them. They worked out a plan with me and i am now paying that off too. the expense did not cost anyone any more than it already did, I used their service gladly and I am paying for it. I will gladly do it again if I have to, for the sake of my son.

    And take your facist, you know better (yet can't even spell Ayn's name correctly) freeloading ass, and stick it where the sun doesnt shine. OH and the ones you speak about at the end of your little communist manifesto are the people that use any system to the absolute fullest, yet do not pay anything, or even look to find ways to save money (like ER visits for a pimple, or an ambulance ride just to get into town).
    We the people who actually take care and pay for ourselves are tired of paying for your deadbeat asses...

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    One thing you might want to mention is that SawStop didn't start out making saws. They invented a safety feature and tried to market it to various saw companies, who weren't buying it. And we have some notoriously poor safety records with our saws versus other countries.

    Some have hinted that the tool industry more or less wanted to bury the technology, that this came out in the trial, and that is why the seemingly-strange judgment came back from the jury.

    As a side note: I was briefly involved, as a teenager, doing the computerized analysis for a safety feature for cars. I can't go into too many details, but it was specifically designed for front-back collisions, not side collisions. It was amazingly effective. I watched a man without a helmet, seatbelt, or airbag drive into a parked junker at 45 mph, not a scratch on him. What happened? Technology got bought and buried. I would not be surprised if this safety feature was also viewed as a "threat" and ignored.

     

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  80.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "The government is not outlawing free speech, they are simply putting those who protest the government in jail or, worse, executing them."

    This is true in other parts of the world but not in the US. Most certainty some corporations try to abridge the First Amendment in a multitude of ways and there are some judges who overstep their authority but in both cases they do get slapped down.

    As to lying, actions speak louder than words and unfortunately Mike's anti inventor, or at least anti inventor profiting from their inventions stand is very clear. Irrational but clear.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  81.  
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    jws, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Re: This is rich...

    SawStop originally tried to license the technology to table saw manufacturers but none were apparently interested for good reasons or bad. They started to manufacture saws as an outlet for their technology.

     

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  82.  
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    Mark, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Really a watershed case, or...?

    I agree that this SOUNDS like a really dumb jury decision, but I wonder whether we know all the facts that caused the jury to decide like it did. That's why we have trials in the first place, because it's not always easy or evident to discover who is at fault.

    I'm not saying I know one way or the other; I'm just saying unless we read a full transcript of the trial, we don't know. Too many people make snap judgments based on "common sense" that turns out to be dead wrong, or a smattering of facts that are misleading for what they omit. We may also find this to be true with the current Toyota acceleration problem.

     

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  83.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    "Who Needs Facts?" Huh? Why'd you change your name? Besides, I thought last time we heard from you you said you were never reading this site again. That was after I proved, conclusively, that you were the one who repeatedly got your facts wrong, and all I asked for was a simple easy apology. And you couldn't do it. Then, when *you* screwed up and submitted a blank comment, you acted all childish because our system blocked it as spam and said you would never come back. And yet, here you are, pretending to be someone different. Funny.

    You make it sound like it's government conspiring to force everyone into patent licenses.

    I said no such thing at all. What I said was that this was the impact of this jury ruling.

    These guys came up with some safety technology that supposedly works. The PTO issued patents on it. In a completely unrelated incident, a guy got injured by someone who refused to add these safety standards, and the jury believed that felt short of a reasonable standard of care.

    Indeed. But I see that as problematic -- as do many people.

    Everyone else thought it was okay... except for you.

    Er, no. Most people in this thread don't think it was ok. The three separate readers who submitted it to me didn't think it was ok.

    Lots of people find this troubling.

    Decades ago, there were multiple patents on glass that when broken, was covered in laminate, and yet, even if the laminate broke, the glass was tempered, so it would break into thousands of small beads instead of large slashing pieces. Negligence lawsuits erupted over the failure to include these types of glass in everything from shower doors to car windshields. Now, something that is so widespread that you probably never even noticed it, and it's made everyone safer, yet you're complaining over this exact process that has made you so much safer that you don't even realize it.

    Yes, I am complaining because a court ruling should never require someone to license someone else's technology. If the gov't put in place safety regulations through the legislative process, that's one thing -- and, if done that way, should require the patents go away. But if it's through a lawsuit like this, that's doubly troubling.

     

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  84.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Without patent attorneys and US patent law (which arguably needs an overhaul in several key areas), lowly inventors (like me)and the backbone-of-America companies that employ us would not even exist.

    This is provably false. Study after study after study after study have shown that there is no direct causal impact between patent law and innovation. In fact, multiple studies have shown *greater* innovation in countries without patents. Other studies that looked at innovation before and after patent laws changed have also found that stronger patent laws hindered innovation rather than helped it.

    Your tirade clearly indicates a lack of knowledge, irrational and misplaced anger, and ignorance. I am always amused by laypersons who are outraged about the protections patents afford, while egregiously ignorant of the business, financial, and intellectual investments that are put at risk if no system existed at all.

    I'm quite familiar with all of them. In fact, given that your first sentence is provably false, I'm guessing that I'm more familiar with these issues than you are.

    The USPTO actually protects the free market, bonehead, and those who make the huge investments that it takes to bring a product to market (otherwise, bonehead, it is easily stolen, the investment worthless, and NO THINKING PERSON would EVER develop anything ever again).

    Again, this is provably false. Countries without patents have had just as much, if not greater, innovation. That's because you falsely seem to think that a patent is the final product. It is not. The product is the final product, and there is plenty of incentive to create new products: to sell them... even in the absence of patents.

    As for USPTO protecting the free market, that is laughable. It is not a free market when the gov't is granting monopolies. It's the exact opposite of one.

    Now, you can make the argument (even though the evidence shows otherwise) that such monopolies are necessary to promote the progress, but you cannot correctly claim that the patent system represents a free market. It is the antithesis of one.

     

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  85.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    This product stops the blade by jamming an aluminum block into it. The block has the electronics inside and it is only good for two stops.

    The product is engineered to make you buy an expensive replacement unit (kind of like Apple garbage). That creates a huge opportunity to invent a better mechanism whose life is longer. The fact that it is not retrofittable is another huge market.

    If you can invent a better solution which does not infringe then you will strike it rich. If you cannot then that says that this invention is pretty important and worth paying the price.

    This is the way the system works and it does work very well. The patent system is a major reason for America being a world economic leader.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  86.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    To be fair to Sawstop, there's no clear reason to think they've done anything wrong.

    Indeed. And I never meant to imply that the company itself did anything wrong. Though, they *are* happy about this decision and have talked about why they think it's right and good.

    That said, a private company having a patent on a crucial safety technology raises some serious potential ethical problems, but there isn't particularly strong reason to think that those have happened yet in this case. At least it's clear that Sawstop are actual table saw manufacturers, and good ones at that, rather than patent trolls.

    Sure. I just find it troubling that a patented technology should ever be required purchasing. It seems to go against the whole exclusive rights part of the patent system.

     

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  87.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re:

    What did we have before lawyers? Trial by combat? A sovereign deciding?

    Everything has flaws but some solutions are always better than others.

    Law may not be perfect but it is better than the alternatives.

    And most lawyers are trying to the right thing. Most certainly the law profession has a higher ethical standard than what we see on TechDIRT.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  88.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    Mike Masnick said:

    "Who Needs Facts?" Huh? Why'd you change your name? Besides, I thought last time we heard from you you said you were never reading this site again. That was after I proved, conclusively, that you were the one who repeatedly got your facts wrong, and all I asked for was a simple easy apology."

    And that is as far as I read because you frequently fail to prove anything and most certaintly you did not do so this time.


    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  89.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    And that is as far as I read because you frequently fail to prove anything and most certaintly you did not do so this time.


    That's funny coming from you Ronald. For two years I have asked you repeatedly to present ONE SINGLE shred of evidence supporting your position.

    You have never done so.

    So, please, go ahead, back up your argument with evidence please.

    Present a SINGLE study that disproves the dozens of studies I've presented to you.

    Go ahead. I'm waiting.

    I've asked you three times for this very thing in the last two weeks alone, and your response was that YOU WOULD NOT DO SO. Why? Because you can't and you know it.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Without even trying I can see ways to improve this.

    And yet SawStop is actually shipping a product.

    You, you are just some poster on the internet making a claim. A bit more effort would have to go into just being someone who filed a patent claim - but even then you'd still be someone just making a claim with no product.

    Good luck to your visions of importance.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Just a lowly inventor, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    It would seem that all of you who wrote in opposition to my post are in desperate need of some basic understanding of business, economics, and finance. You can't have "free" anything without reasonable boundaries of protection, and in any "free market", the definition of those boundaries is paramount. It is ludicrous to assume that ANY unprotected investment - financial, personal, or invention - would not be unfairly infringed upon (Read: stolen), were it not for reasonable protections.

    We develop and patent technologies and products as a business. Without the protection afforded by the USPTO, we could not:
    1) Secure investors or lines of credit
    2) License what we have developed (no risk-adverse company with distribution will take that gamble for most technology-driven products)
    3) Secure strategic corporate or distribution partners for unique and innovative products and technologies
    4) Securely tool up for mass production (yeah, we're a Made in the USA company...having our technology and/or products stolen by off-shore or domestic thieves whose sole expense beyond "carbon copying" our technology/products is the tooling, making their ROI attractive while in turn making ours uninvestable, is just plain financial suicide)
    5) Assert any vehicle in a civil manner in order to gain financial remuneration for theft
    6) Etc., etc., etc...I could go on and on...and by the way: technically, we are defined as a "small business".

    I question who, among the posters, is representative of an actual business concern that, by their inherent job responsibility, must actually be fiscally responsible to anyone other than themselves.

    As for the humorous "creating artificial jobs": are you kidding? We employ dozens in manufacturing, who produce what we have developed and then patent-protected. Now, if you are referring to the "artificial jobs" that are to provide unnecessary services to a nation desperately in need of "tangible wealth producers", well then, I agree with you.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    "That's funny coming from you Ronald. For two years I have asked you repeatedly to present ONE SINGLE shred of evidence supporting your position.

    You have never done so.

    So, please, go ahead, back up your argument with evidence please.

    Present a SINGLE study that disproves the dozens of studies I've presented to you.

    Go ahead. I'm waiting.

    I've asked you three times for this very thing in the last two weeks alone, and your response was that YOU WOULD NOT DO SO. Why? Because you can't and you know it."

    Can you say OWNED?

    But you know, he probably feels he is right due to sheer and blind righteous belief. He is right because he is right, QED.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    Well, I never thought I'd agree with Ronald J. Riley, but here goes. As he notes, the SawStop system is rather a kludge. It makes much more sense to put abundant distance between your hands and the saw blade.

    A push stick is a good idea, of course, but it would be better still to have something like a pole clamp, designed to fit into a slot in the saw table. Then you have an electric motor to move the clamp (or clamps) back and forth along the slot. That means that you don't need to have your hands within two feet of the saw blade. You can have a plexiglass lid which swings down, covering the whole table and has an interlock. The lid cannot be raised while the saw motor is running, and the saw motor cannot start while the lid is up. I don't believe there's enough new in this proposal to be patentable, not in the wake of KSR v. Teleflex. It's basically a matter of taking the deluxe approach to material handling you would find in a milling machine, and applying it to a table saw.

    Perhaps a radial arm saw would be a better choice of configuration, only the beam would run across the table, and be supported at both ends. The long end of the workpiece would always be in the same direction, and the saw would rotate as appropriate. If you fit the saw with three different traversing motors, one in each axis, it effectively becomes a milling machine. In principle, a milling machine is more versatile than a saw. There is a type of milling machine bit known as an end mill, which superficially resembles a drillbit, but is designed to cut sideways. Such bits may not be the most efficient means to cut metal, but such criteria would probably not be relevant to cutting wood. Assuming the machine to be programmable, cutting speed is not wildly important.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endmill

    The details would have to be worked out, but I think you might end up with a sophisticated numerically controlled tool which could do all kinds of complex cutting at a safe distance, behind a safety door.

     

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  94.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    It would seem that all of you who wrote in opposition to my post are in desperate need of some basic understanding of business, economics, and finance.

    Actually, I run a successful business, and have a degree from a top university in business, with a concentration in economics. And I graduated top of my class.

    How about you?

    You can't have "free" anything without reasonable boundaries of protection, and in any "free market", the definition of those boundaries is paramount.

    Again, I would suggest that you educate yourself about basic economics -- specifically the economics of competitive free markets.

    It is ludicrous to assume that ANY unprotected investment - financial, personal, or invention - would not be unfairly infringed upon (Read: stolen), were it not for reasonable protections.

    No, it would not be ludicrous. The problem is that you seem to think that infringement is automatically bad. Back here in the real free market, we know that competition is a good thing and drives innovation.

    And you must know that infringement and "stealing" are two totally different things, or must I quote the Supreme Court yet again:

    "interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud."

    We develop and patent technologies and products as a business. Without the protection afforded by the USPTO, we could not:

    Ah, so you cannot be trusted as unbiased or reasonable, as you are someone who profits unfairly from the system.

    But, basically what you are saying is that you have a bad business model, which you hope the gov't will continue to prop up. That's unfortunate.

    1) Secure investors or lines of credit

    False. You just need to find better investors. We have regularly highlighted investors who are against patents and believe they are dangerous. That you happen to have investors who are unfamiliar with this is an issue for you to deal with.

    2) License what we have developed (no risk-adverse company with distribution will take that gamble for most technology-driven products)

    This is also false. We have shown repeatedly, that even in situations where there aren't IP rights, licensing still occurs for a variety of reasons, including better access to those really knowledgeable about the IP in question. If you sold that access as a service combined with a license, you'd be fine.

    Again, the problem here is your business model.

    3) Secure strategic corporate or distribution partners for unique and innovative products and technologies

    False again. Relationships built on trust are important in any business relationship. If you work with companies that abuse that trust, then they will quickly build up that reputation and you won't work with them again. This is a self-enforcing mechanism. Even without patents.

    4) Securely tool up for mass production (yeah, we're a Made in the USA company...having our technology and/or products stolen by off-shore or domestic thieves whose sole expense beyond "carbon copying" our technology/products is the tooling, making their ROI attractive while in turn making ours uninvestable, is just plain financial suicide)

    You seem to recognize that there's brand value in being Made in the USA. So what's wrong with competing against offshore competitors when you know people want made in the USA products?

    5) Assert any vehicle in a civil manner in order to gain financial remuneration for theft

    You seem to be confusing theft with infringement again. And why not focus on remuneration where it matters: in the market, from selling a product.

    6) Etc., etc., etc...I could go on and on...and by the way: technically, we are defined as a "small business".


    So far all I've seen is that you've built a business model based on abusing gov't monopolies, and you really want that to continue. That is not an argument that patents are necessary. It's an argument that you don't want to change your business model.

    I question who, among the posters, is representative of an actual business concern that, by their inherent job responsibility, must actually be fiscally responsible to anyone other than themselves.

    *Raises hand* I am running a successful business and I do so while purposely avoiding IP. And I've successfully raised money as well, despite your claim that it would be impossible. We've also licensed our works, despite the fact that people could use it for free if they wanted to.

    We have corporate and distribution partners as well, some of the biggest names in the world.

    Basically everything you say would be impossible, we've done. Weird.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    As to lying, actions speak louder than words and unfortunately Mike's anti inventor, or at least anti inventor profiting from their inventions stand is very clear. Irrational but clear.

    That you are a patent troll lover is very clear. Irrational but clear.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    So you say, and yet... every time you're asked for any sort of evidence to back up your words you are notably silent. What's the matter? Afraid to submit your flimsy evidence? You, sir, are all talk. Nothing but. And do you know how the saying goes? Money talks, bullshit walks? Put your money where your mouth is.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    And?

    We develop and patent technologies and products as a business.

    Ok - so your business model "has" to have the USPTO.

    Without the protection afforded by the USPTO,

    And then you launch into a diatribe about how you claim to need the USPTO.

    Yet plenty of businesses do all of that list without needing the USPTO.

    Esp. the etc, etc, etc part.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re:

    'Most certainly the law profession has a higher ethical standard than what we see on TechDIRT.'

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This coming from the troll who refuses to provide evidence of anything he says!

    You're just as bad as the **AA shills. A liar and a hack.

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Oh wow. Let stupid people die.

    Darwin is calling some of people and we should let them go. Natural selection.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "False again. Relationships built on trust are important in any business relationship. If you work with companies that abuse that trust, then they will quickly build up that reputation and you won't work with them again. This is a self-enforcing mechanism. Even without patents."

    and, as I've said before, patents harm this process because if a company sells a product that you need and they have a patent on it and there are no reasonable substitutes, then you're stuck with that company even if they are dishonest.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:06pm

    Mike, Not sure whether anyone responded to your response:
    I said in the post: "the jury sided with the guy" so you are wrong that this point was lost on me. But once the jury decides, it is effectively the same as the gov't saying so -- because the gov't through the judicial system enforces.

    Except juries and jury trials do not make law. They are not published, binding or precedent. It is once the case is decided by the jury, the higher courts get to flesh out the law and logic of the facts. That then has the opportunity occasionally to be heard by higher and higher courts. It is only when a higher court makes the determinination, is "law" made.

    More often than not, most trial cases and awards that people harp on (The McDonalds hot coffee case)are reduced or substantially lowered or reversed by higher courts. No one ever reports on those, or the actual facts by which the ultimate desicion was made.

    While I respect and enjoy reading your site, occasionally you seem as biased as the pro-patent side. In this case, it was not about the patent, or the invention. The question was, as pointed out above, could, for a reasonable cost, the manufacturer reduced the chance that an idiot would hurt themselves. The invention mentioned was merely one way.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "This is true in other parts of the world but not in the US."

    Wow, you completely missed the point.

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "The government is not mandating use of this invention, the court simply said that a company which allows a user to be injured is liable."

    The point is that when a government passes laws or makes decisions (ie: the jury, acting on behalf of the government, made a decision) that punish someone for doing something or creates negative consequences or unnecessary risks, the effect is essentially the same as outlawing it.

    What is the effect of a law that makes something illegal? The effect is that, "if you do such and such you risk being punished or facing x consequences." After all, what would be the point of making something illegal and not implementing any sort of consequence against those who break said law?

     

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  104.  
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    Paul, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    God you're dumb.

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "The USPTO actually protects the free market, bonehead, and those who make the huge investments that it takes to bring a product to market (otherwise, bonehead, it is easily stolen, the investment worthless, and NO THINKING PERSON would EVER develop anything ever again)."

    Except, of course, that everything you just said is demonstrably false.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "If you can invent a better solution which does not infringe then you will strike it rich. If you cannot then that says that this invention is pretty important and worth paying the price."

    You forgot the more important part. You know, the part where you actually manage to bring the product to market effectively.

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Re:

    "Except juries and jury trials do not make law. They are not published, binding or precedent."

    You are technically correct. But if the higher courts do not overturn the verdict then this verdict, at least in this specific instance, is enforced by the government and effectively law for that specific case. It also creates huge risk that the same law will be applied to other cases. The effect is essentially the same, you don't implement this product, you risk being punished by our legal system (enforced by the government).

     

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  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, I saw this unethical shill on Techdirt once. I think his name was Donald? Oh, wait, it was Ronald. He usually claims to "speak only on his own behalf" and then proceeds to attach a signature with more content than most of his posts. Don't forget that he also drags a dead guy into each and every one of his rants by nature of the silly signature.

    I mean, I regularly see this guy on Techdirt, so Techdirt must be unethical, right?

     

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  109.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "If you can invent a better solution which does not infringe then you will strike it rich."

    The assumption here is that this product needs a patent for someone to be able to invent a better invention.

    "If you cannot then that says that this invention is pretty important and worth paying the price."

    and the assumption here is that said invention needs a patent to exist.

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    This is the way the system works and it does work very well. The patent system is a major reason for America being a world economic leader.

    By selling patented weapon systems to anybody with money?

     

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  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Seatbelts, Airbags, and Patents

    When SawStop works, and it stops the blade, you have to then purchase the replacement parts so it could stop the next saw-related accident.

    The replacement parts cost more than some table saws. At least, for now.

     

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  112.  
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    Nathan, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    How did I get in the subject line of this fight? I've only been here 3 days but DANG!...this place is AWESOME!

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Krannert IT, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    Re:

    "But no one is forcing you to use a table saw."

    And no one forces anyone to use a car but we have safety laws. I completely disagree with the lawsuit but many peopl have to use a table saw if they want to have a job. Several of my employees use table saws, cicular saws, wet saws, drills, and other dangerous tools. If they refused to use one I would either have to lower their pay as a skilled craftsman to that of an unskilled crafstman or just let them go, so in essence I force some of my employees to use them or face dire financial consequnces like loosing their homes and families.

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re: :(

    Well, that and the fact that most safety features make the tool less useful by preventing me from doing certain normally safe things with it. For example, putting an extra button on the second grip on a saw makes it unsafe to use said saw to cut tails off trusses, because you now no longer have a second hand to balance yourself with. It also makes it dangerous and impossible to use your foot as a sawhorse.

    It basically compromises the usefulness of the tool. Whereas Sawstop would be a noninvasive way to prevent someone from injuring themselves.

    I'm really not advocating for the idea that a corporation that manufactures a dangerous tool should be liable for a user's failure to take precautions. What I'm suggesting is that this guy definitely deserved what happened to him since he stuck his fingers near the blade. As others have pointed out, if he had made a jig for pushing material, or actually kept the guard on the saw, he would not have injured himself.

    Everyone who is actually competent to operate construction equipment knows that it's way to easy to injure yourself using it. I've seen competent carpenters cut fingers off just by losing focus for a second. I've shot myself with a nailgun several times, and fallen off a roof, because I lost focus for a few seconds. None of these accidents would have been prevented with additional safety devices, because in every case the operator had become careless. All the safety devices in the world will not prevent you from getting injured if you get careless.

    So Scott, before you point fingers at the company that makes the hammer you bust your thumb with, maybe you should stop and reflect on what you were thinking about. It's not Ryobi's fault that this guy got careless around his saw and didn't stop to think about what would happen if his fingers made contact with the blade.

    It's not that companies don't want their users to be safe. It's that users don't perceive the safety features as valuable. If seat belts were only an option for me, though, you can bet your butt I would buy them, just like I buy insurance for my home and my car.

    Government is always incompetent to know what is best for everyone. It can't protect you from your own carelessness short of making every decision for you, and anyone that advocates that is advocating fascism, which is an untenable position.

     

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  115.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    Lawyering is the best solution because it replaces violence with reasoned discourse.

     

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  116.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    How did I get in the subject line of this fight? I've only been here 3 days but DANG!...this place is AWESOME!


    Welcome to Techdirt. :)

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:17pm

    Re: The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    Have you ever actually used a Table Saw? The use of any kind of full-table guard would make it virtually useless for ALL of its intended purposes by reducing the size of the work piece at the useful length to less than 2 feet.

     

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  118.  
    icon
    Bram Cohen (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    I just find it troubling that a patented technology should ever be required purchasing. It seems to go against the whole exclusive rights part of the patent system.

    We seem to disagree with where the logic has gone off the rails here. I believe the logic behind the liability in this case is rock solid - seriously, have you *seen* how effective the sawstop is? Do you know how common lost fingers are? My opinion is that the system goes off the rails at the point where it gives a flat monopoly protection with no exceptions where something is crucial to the public good. That is assuming, of course, that the monopoly should be granted at all in the first place. I agree with what other commenters have said about this being an unusually non-abusive patent, but even in this case I think things would be much the same even if there were no patents - sawstop would have still invented their safety device, and still have started selling high end saws based on it, they just would have gone straight to manufacturing their own and not wasted time trying to license the technology first.

    As for Sawstop lauding this court decision, my guess is that whoever's behind it has an honest concern for keeping peoples's fingers from getting cut off. Sure it's probably good for their business (and would be without patents too) but there's no need to assume machiavellian motivation.

     

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  119.  
    icon
    ChuckRunyan (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

    This is typical product liability law

    Any time a product injurs someone, their lawyer argues to the jury that a different design could have precluded the injury and therefore the product was defective. Usually, manufacturers are required by that body of law to be fairly close to average safety standards.

    The problem here is that the sawstop device is still under patent.

    This is not a problem of the patent system. No one really believes that Sawstop didn't invent something that was novel and useful to at least some consumers.

    The problem is that for the last century the American public, including most of the posters above, have let product liability run amuk. Disclaimer: I am a patent attorney. But the result of this case could have been predicted by a first year law student because it is completely unsurprising in terms of product liability law.

    But try to get legislation passed that rationalizes the system and everyone cries that the legislation is pro corporation and anti safety.

    Face it people. We have the legal system we asked for. Crying about it now does no good.

    Charles E. Runyan, Ph. D. J. D.
    Runyan Law
    4836 Zeniff Rd.
    Heber, AZ 85928
    Tel. (480) 205-9365
    Fax. (866) 593-3697

    Email: Charles.Runyan@runyanlaw.net

    View my LinkedIn profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesrunyan
    Disclaimer: The fact I may communicate with you via electronic communications, letters or the telephone does not mean that I am your attorney or that I am giving you legal advice unless and until: (i) you first elect to hire me, (ii) we sign an engagement agreement that sets forth what legal services I will provide and how you will be charged, and (iii) you pay any required fee or security deposit. Otherwise, my comments are general and non-specific and you should not rely on them as legal advice.

     

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  120.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re:

    You better hope he didn't hear you.

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Lawyering is the best solution because it replaces violence with reasoned discourse.

    Huh? Do you know how court decisions are ultimately enforced? By government force. I.e. violence.

     

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  122.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:48pm

    If a company innovates a safety feature that in after thought seems blatantly obvious, why shouldn't they be compensated if the government mandates it's use. It would be like having a patent on brakes: "When you'd ready to stop just release the accelerator and let friction slow your momentum"

     

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  123.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ... i think you might want to do those two things in the opposite order...

    less reality breaking.

     

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  124.  
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    Frederic Steinway, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

    The Brief Story of SawStop

    The inventor of SawStop was on "The Big Idea" on CNBC. He tried to sell his technology to every known saw maker but nobody cared because basically "safety doesn't sell".

    So, he had to start his own production.

    So, unless you buy saws from SawStop, this is not even an option. Most companies find a way to license or steal ideas and then settle out of court (or in court, like the famous cases of Sears ripping off the inventor of the push-off socket wrench, or the auto industry ripping off the inventor of intermittent wipers.)

    Most deem such court or out of court activities preferable to lawsuits from thousands of maimed customers.

    Patents and copyrights, as much as they repulse most of us, can give the little guy a fighting chance, provided that he or she can afford a Prussian Army of lawyers. But that's another issue.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 12:28am

    He should be suing himself for not providing himself with a safe workplace.

     

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  126.  
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    Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 4:27am

    Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Yeah, and every company producing sharp knives will be liable, because they aren't using my invention for knife safety? You may patent if you want. It's called a dull soft plastic knife, it's so great that it will never cut a moron. But I'm sure some will try to deepthroat it and suffocate, so lets also make it round like a ball and big enough that it won't fit to morons mouth.

    Some people should just accept that there are morons who will hurt themselves even intentionally. Ever heard of TV show Jack Ass? International prime time stupidity at it's best...

    Why won't anyone sue them for increasing healt care costs by purpose?

     

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  127.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 5:28am

    The Way To Go Is Remote Control ( to Chris, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:17pm)

    Bear in mind that a table saw is a means, not an objective. The objective is to cut wood. There are many kinds of saws, and one can choose a kind of saw which is comparatively easy to design guards for. If you look at a radial arm saw, the saw itself is much more mobile than the saw in a table saw, precisely because it is suspended over the table, rather than being built into the table. There is a joint where the saw joins the overhead arm, and another joint where the overhead arm joins the table, so that the saw can cut lengthwise, and widthwise, and anglewise, without having to turn the workpiece around. That means that the workpiece has to move around less. Since the the saw is considerably smaller than the workpiece, that makes it easier to design a guard.

    Suppose you have an enclosure two feet wide, and five feet deep. On either side, there is a slot four feet long, and perhaps two inches high, partly filled by an adjustable-height roller. This means that you can run a sheet of plywood through, lengthwise. Inside the enclosure, there is enough room for the saw to move around and change directions. To slice up a piece of plywood into a kit of parts, you don't really need huge amounts of cutting power. By the nature of things, this is more slow, but intricate work. Hence, a milling machines with an end mill might make more sense, as it would share a jigsaw's ability to cut corners. The machine would also be able to drill holes with a different bit. The idea would be to do everything you needed to do to a piece of plywood in a single pass, under the control of a computer. The cutting head would be capable of moving the full width of the workpiece transversely, that is, four feet, but it would also be capable of moving six inches or so, longitudinally. Long longitudinal cuts would be broken down into slices of four or six inches, and the cutting head would periodically change cutting bits from a rack.

    What we are talking about is something like a cross between a traditional Numerically Controlled machine tool and a computer printer (inkjet). A cross between an alligator and an ostrich, if you like. As I previously stated, I feel that the SawStop people erred in taking the prior configuration of table saws as given, and trying to work within that framework. When you back off and approach the problem from first principles, you get a rather different solution.

     

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  128.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    We seem to disagree with where the logic has gone off the rails here.

    I think we actually mostly agree... except for one detail.

    I believe the logic behind the liability in this case is rock solid - seriously, have you *seen* how effective the sawstop is? Do you know how common lost fingers are?

    I do recognize how effective this is, but if that's the case, let's let it be mandated by consumer product safety law, not through a random trial. I don't think it's negligence that resulted in the sawmakers not using it -- but a recognition that the method was too expensive for the consumer value.

    My opinion is that the system goes off the rails at the point where it gives a flat monopoly protection with no exceptions where something is crucial to the public good.

    And, on that we agree -- and that was the key point that I was trying to make, even if perhaps it wasn't made clearly.

     

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  129.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Weapons development has provided a staggering number of inventions to civilians.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  130.  
    identicon
    coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    > Weapons development has provided a staggering number of inventions to civilians.


    Total Bullshit! And for what purpose? To kill and torture people! Come on! Show me the numbers! A lot more useful inventions come outside military and weapons development.

     

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  131.  
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    JR, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    patent?

    It seems to me that the jury wasn't telling Ryobi to license this patent, they were telling Ryobi to either use the existing system OR invent an equally effective alternative safety system.

    Not the same thing at all. SawStop demonstrated that there are new technologies that can make commonly used but inherently dangerous power tools MUCH safer. I've worked in printing (with molten metal and spinning presses) and in construction (with nail guns and table saws) and I'm plenty interested in safer tools.

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    Your solution to tablesaw safety is to use a fucking CNC milling machine?

    Jesus christ, if there was a more impractical, more expensive solution then I sure as hell don't know what it is.

    First, CNC machines are crazy expensive.
    Second, CNC machines that can cut things the size of plywood sheets (what you regularly do on a tablesaw) are super duper crazy expensive. We're talking HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
    Third, your posts represents a complete lack of knowledge of the word "practical".

     

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  133.  
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    Bram Cohen (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    I don't think it's negligence that resulted in the sawmakers not using it -- but a recognition that the method was too expensive for the consumer value.

    There I think you've got it wrong. This article has some real numbers on costs, and my very conservative estimates are that the costs to a consumer of the hazard of a saw are at least $50,000 (price of finger) * 1/50 (changes of a given saw cutting off a finger) = $1,000 while the costs of adding the technology are at most $150 (materials and manufacturing) + $150 (max licensing fee for an expensive machine) = $300. This, ahem, very strongly makes an economic case for the feature, and the fact that a no-name company has become successful selling table saws based on it provides an existence proof of its viability as well.

    Whether it was poor judgement or an anti-safety conspiracy which led to the manufacturers not licensing the feature is something one could debate, but the applicability of liability here is very clear cut, unless one believes that noone should have product liability for anything ever.

     

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  134.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Cellular communications back in the 60's for the US Army, DARPANet...a precursor for what we all use daily, satellites of every size, shape and use imaginable, aircraft, the humble brake for autos, resin-impregnated honeycomb structures, graphite structures, new applications for MMW technology, GPS, etc., etc. etc.

    Inventions come from everywhere we have curious people intent on solving problems. However, some of these inventions are of the type where the $$$ are beyond the reach of the private sector, or involve the development of technologies critical to national security. This is where the DOD steps in, with DARPA being one of the leaders.

     

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  135.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Personal Responsibility

    "When are people going to learn personal responsibility?"

    Such responsibility applies equally to users and makers of products. I think it is incredibly bad business to maim and kill one's customers.

    I have a wood shop with all the typical tools. It is a fact that all of us make mistakes, especially Mike when he starts talking about patents.

    This case is a perfect example of the trials inventors go through. They produce great inventions and try to license them. Companies refuse their advances and the inventor may start a company as happened in this case.

    Something happens in the market which makes the invention desirable to all the players, in this case product liability.

    Now all the players will need to either invent an alternative or pay the inventor. Many of the companies will probably try to steal the invention.

    In virtually all cases larger companies have economies of scale which small companies cannot achieve. So while the infringer is making money without any of the development costs and driving the product's price down greatly lowering the inventor's profit they are also faced with legal costs.

    This puts an inventor such as SawStop into a crisis situation, loss of everything or having to spend five or more years litigating to protect their rights.

    Far too may inventors are destroyed at this stage of the game and their loss pales compared to the loss which society suffers in terms of jobs and prosperity.

    This is why I founded the Professional inventors Alliance twenty years ago. For every inventor who has the skills and luck to survive there are probably a hundred or more who do not. This is not so much about the fate of each inventor as it is about loss of subsequent inventions and the impact that has on our whole economy.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  136.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    One of thousands of examples is Spread Spectrum technology which was invented during WW-II and it is the backbone of communications today.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  137.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My imagination transcends reality.

     

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  138.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Seat belt patents

    "This is very similar to the government mandating that you put seatbelts and airbags in cars, only in this case someone holds a patent on the technology in question"


    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  139.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "You, sir, are all talk. Nothing but."

    A number of big businesses who infringed my patents thought the same, and while they we busy being overconfident I ate their lunch :)

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  140.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Now, if you are referring to the "artificial jobs" that are to provide unnecessary services to a nation desperately in need of "tangible wealth producers", well then, I agree with you."

    Mike does not produce new wealth like an inventor does.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  141.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Cant. Would infringe the patent as noted above. Arent allowed to improve/modify something and call it your own. This is what monopoly rights are all about. "

    and to the extent that you are allowed to, it doesn't matter, court or settlement fees are enough to stop you.

     

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  142.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "so I do not injure myself when running into a tree"

    Based on your comments I wouldn't see this as a great loss.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  143.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:00pm

    Re:

    "It would be like having a patent on brakes: "When you'd ready to stop just release the accelerator and let friction slow your momentum""

    The point, which you seem to miss, is that the government shouldn't mandate the use of a device that's not necessary for a product to function in a product and then subsequently allow some patent holder of the device to charge some arbitrary amount for the device. Brakes are necessary for the function of a car in that without brakes the car loses almost all of its value. Seatbelts, on the other hand, are not.

     

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  144.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Judging by the number of patents gathering dust at the USPTO, I would argue that most inventors do not produce new wealth.

    Inventing something does not mean that it automatically has any value. Most inventions have no value. So how do inventors get around that roadblock? Get the government to grant you a monopoly, that's how.

     

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  145.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody holds a patent on a "technology". If someone does hold a patent, it is limited to a specific implementation within a technology field. Others are always free to come up with their own implementations.

    You must be new here. Ford came up with their own implementation of intermittent wipers yet had to pay millions to Robert Kearns. Remember the court found that Ford's infringement was not wilful.

     

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  146.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:18pm

    Re: patent?

    And you don't think that SawStop will not sue Ryobi or any tool manufacturer the minute they introduce some "equally effective alternative safety system"?

     

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  147.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    So you admit to being a parasite who unfairly benefits from our patent system. You do nothing to innovate, instead, you only get in the way of those who do innovate. Those who innovated most likely did not need you or your patent to come up with whatever it was you had a patent on, they did so independently without even knowing your patent was out there being that you are too stupid to come up with anything non - obvious to someone with half a brain (yet alone the engineers you criticize like the ones that work for Google). You are a perfect example of what's wrong with our patent and legal system and you give it a bad name and ruin things for everyone else.

     

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  148.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    otherwise, bonehead, it is easily stolen, the investment worthless, and NO THINKING PERSON would EVER develop anything ever again

    If the invention is "easily stolen", then it shouldn't have been granted a government-granted monopoly in the fist place.

    If the investment is worth something, why are there thousands upon thousands of patents gathering dust at the USPTO?

    Let's take your "no thinking person would ever develop anything ever again" argument and apply to, say, the retail sector. Why did Jeff Bezos bother creating Amazon when two bookstore giants, Borders and Barnes & Noble, dominated the market? Surely, no one in their right mind would open a new business in that sector, right?

     

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  149.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:47pm

    Re: The Brief Story of SawStop

    The auto industry did not rip off Robert Kearns. Ford's infringement was found not to be wilful, meaning it was not deliberate. There are plenty of examples of supposed ground breaking inventions that had different 'inventors' researching and developing a similar good or technology. Yet, only one of them would be granted a patent.

     

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  150.  
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    Stan Rogers, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Um, no. CNC routers (which is the class of tool we're talking about here) with a bed sized to fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood or MDF are considerably less expensive than that. Even the "name brand, top-of-the-line" machines, like those produced by Onsrud, are well within the reach of anyone who is doing production work (yes, even a one-man shop). And there are drive kits, complete with interface components, that will let anyone with a modicum of skill turn, say, a Porter Cable fixed-base router into a 4x8 three-axis CNC mill for less than a grand (depending on the table construction and, of course, with a lot of sweat equity in the project). The shop-built version won't have fancy features like automatic bit selection, of course, but it will work just fine.

    I'm not suggesting that everybody dump their table saws for a CNC router (for one, kerf waste becomes a real issue unless you make feed rates so slow that a 1/8" bit will make a complete cut without breaking -- and that means everything takes forever). I just don't like to see uninformed hyperbole driving the bus.

     

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  151.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "Surely, no one in their right mind would open a new business in that sector, right?"

    and why would google spend a billion (or whatever) dollars on Youtube if someone else can simply open enough another video distribution website? Heck, why would anyone start a new business, even an ice cream shop in a specific area, if their success just meant that others will follow and take away all the profits? No one would ever open up a business because, if successful, others will just copy.

     

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  152.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    errr ... open up another video distribution website.

     

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  153.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    and lets not forget, Google was the first to offer E - Mail with gigabytes of storage along with so many other features that were then later copied. Firefox came up with so many new features that were copied by microsoft (tabbed browsing and the easy to use search feature that firefox has, the ctrl+f button, among others. and Microsoft stole many ideas from Linux, I even heard a Microsoft rep admit it at my school that they tweaked a bunch of Windows 7 settings and nothing worked well until they eventually decided to tweak them to do what linux does. Yet firefox, linux, Google are still used. No one cries, "Microsoft copied us" though people do cry, "Microsoft gets to copy others but doesn't allow others to copy it.").

    The fact is that society has incentive to ensure that honest inventors succeed without the government's help. People favor Google over Viacom in a lawsuit or anything because Google is honest and Viacom is not. People will naturally buy from and contribute to and support honest businesses that innovate because their success is in our best interest.

    The only thing the government does by granting patents is enable some business to freely act dishonestly and still not lose business to competitors because consumers who need a product are forced to buy from a dishonest entity. and the fact that a corporation would demand monopoly power is a sign of increased selfishness and such a selfish entity is more likely to act unethically and abuse its monopoly power and abuse the patent system itself. Amazon, by abusing its one click buy patent, loses a lot of respect.

    Another example I remember reading here on techdirt is that some company that produced red light cameras for the government noticed that it lost ten percent of its sales in other products from customers who didn't like its business conduct and thought it was unethical. and I agree, in a free market with free information flow (ie: thanks to the Internet, because the mainstream media is worse than useless) people will go out of their way to avoid a product from an unethical company and the company that benefits from these red light cameras (along with the government) is acting unethically by helping our government subject its citizens to unnecessary tyranny.

     

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  154.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    Mike Masnick said:

    "I do recognize how effective this is, but if that's the case, let's let it be mandated by consumer product safety law, not through a random trial."

    Obviously, a degree in economics does not necessarily instill actual understanding.

    It is not the court who mandates use of an available safety device, it would in all likelihood be the manufacturers liability insurance carrier who is going to say to the manufacturer they have to pay a hypothetical extra $200 per saw in insurance and adding the feature to the existing saws will cost a total of say $150.

    At this point the saw company willingly licenses.

    Now lets look at the dynamics of licensing. Inventor comes along as Sawstop did and offers very reasonable license rate because they are trying to break into the market. Saw maker turns the deal down.

    Later saw maker discovers they have a huge liability problem and saw stop has in the meantime created their own product and has a much larger investment.

    Guess what, saw manufacturer is no longer offered the bargain deal. Why should they?

    Now Sawstop gets to offer a package deal which now includes manufacturing know how and a few tubes of made in America KY to saw manufacturers making J&J a very happy company.

    Capitalism is alive and well. Why is it I have hand out this sort of "insight"?

    Since we know that there is a high probability that an entitlement minded saw company will try to ripoff Sawstop rather than license this is an open invitation to them to join the Professional Inventors Alliance. We will be quite happy to help them learn how to make any disreputable saw companies whine like a five year old about how mythical patent trolls are keeping them awake all night. Oops, there is another great "insight".

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  155.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re: Really a watershed case, or...?

    "but I wonder whether we know all the facts that caused the jury to decide like it did."

    This is a very good point. Trials bring out all sorts of information which the rest of us do not have.

    The same point applies to patents. People read the easy part of the patent, the general description and then jump to all sorts of wild and unfounded conclusions about the nature of the the patent.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  156.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    It is nice to see someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

    "I just don't like to see uninformed hyperbole driving the bus."

    Which probably describes about 90% of the posts on TechDIRT. It seems there is no shortage of this on forums. That is one reason so many people post anonymously :)

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  157.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Way To Go Is Remote Control.

    "It seems there is no shortage of this on forums."

    With you here and all, I agree. But thanks to people like Mike and others you will be corrected.

     

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  158.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To be fair to Sawstop, they've probably done nothing wrong

    I'm not even sure what you're trying to say or what your point is. In terms of offering any sort of "insight" you're not even making any sense.


    "Inventor comes along as Sawstop did and offers very reasonable license rate because they are trying to break into the market."

    It's only reasonable because they are trying to break into the market. In other words, when the government demands it or when they have broken into the market, it's no longer reasonable. So the end result is the same, the saw manufacturers are going to end up paying unreasonable rate and buying the product early does nothing to slow down this process, if anything, it only accelerates the process as it allows Sawstop to break into the market faster.

    "Why is it I have hand out this sort of "insight"?"

    Are you serious? You think you should charge for your stupidity? I can imagine how obvious a patent you would consider non-obvious would be.

     

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  159.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    I think you have twisted the story just a bit on this one. The lawsuit (without having all the details and complaints at hand), appears to be a garden-variety product liability claim. Plaintiff says defendant was negligent in manufacturing and selling this product without addressing certain safety issues. Kinda like suing Ford for making Pintos that explode - a behavior generally unexpected in automobiles by most consumers.

    The plaintiff likely made the case that there was an available technology that was reasonable to include in the saw that would have prevented/reduced his injury, and the defendant was negligent in not doing so, because they knew, or should have known, that people were going to have blade-hand interactions in using the saw.

    This is a big reason for the safety devices ALREADY in use on power tools today. Many of them require two switches to be operated (i.e., both hands are in specific places), or have guards over various moving parts, etc. These are all ways of reducing the risk of operator injury, and, therefore, the financial risk to the manufacturer of product liability and negligence lawsuits.

    The jury (not the court - the jury, made up of twelve local citizens, not patent experts) after hearing all the evidence (including, presumably, cost information by the defendant), deliberated and decided that, all things considered, the defendant did not perform its legal duty of a reasonable standard of care in manufacturing the saw in a way that would address this problem it knew or should have known about.

    This verdict does not require anybody to do anything (except for Ryobi to pay money to the plaintiff). It does set a precedent for future cases, but it doesn't require anybody to license any particular technology. Other inventors are free to come up with other ways of addressing this safety issue which don't infringe the patent(s) in question ("workarounds"). But, for the meantime, it appears that a need has been identified, and one inventor/company has had the foresight to come up with a solution for that need.

    Again, the "government" is not requiring anybody to do anything. Yes, a precedent has been set, and it can be assumed that future similar cases will look to this one for guidance. However, I think I would characterize it more as the "people" setting this requirement, rather than the "government".

    I suggest this creates incentive for saw manufacturers to put their thinking caps on about how to deal with this safety issue in ways that let them avoid taking a patent license for this particular invention. Meanwhile, this is exactly what the patent system is intended to promote - a creative inventor being the first/best one to address a need in the market and therefore getting to profit from it.

    HM

     

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  160.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    That's what the court case was, essentially. Yes.

    HM

     

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  161.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "Other inventors are free to come up with other ways of addressing this safety issue which don't infringe the patent(s) in question ("workarounds")."

    The assumption here is that the incumbent patent holder won't sue those who create work arounds for infringement. Heck, even if those work arounds are non infringement the threat of a lawsuit or the potential cost of settlement fees is enough to prevent people from creating work arounds. And we have others have already noted that other companies have created work arounds for patented products (ie: Ford) and have still lost to the patent holder. Your argument is basically an argument from ignorance.

     

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  162.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "However, I think I would characterize it more as the "people" setting this requirement, rather than the "government"."

    The government is composed of people but they do not necessarily represent the people at large. and those in a jury have not been elected by the people either, they're UNELECTED.

    "I suggest this creates incentive for saw manufacturers to put their thinking caps on about how to deal with this safety issue in ways that let them avoid taking a patent license for this particular invention."

    Again, tell that to ford, among others, who have created work arounds and still lost.

    "Meanwhile, this is exactly what the patent system is intended to promote - a creative inventor being the first/best one to address a need in the market and therefore getting to profit from it."

    To the extent that it's a need it would be voluntarily adopted by the free market. But for the government to require a device that's not necessary to the function of a product and allow the patent holder of the device to charge what he wants is nothing short of extortion.

     

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  163.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    Actually, I was making no assumption at all about subsequent lawsuits, because it's irrelevant. Anybody can sue. Yes, it may be a practical obstacle, but doesn't negate the whole process.

    Further, plenty of companies create workarounds for all sorts of patents. Many of those workarounds themselves are then patented in their own right. If you get sued over a workaround and lose, it generally means it wasn't realy a workaround.

    And I am actually quite knowledgeable in this field (patents, not power tool manufacturing), so your assertion that I am arguing from ignorance is demonstrably false (though I don't feel any obligation to trot out my resume to actually conduct the demonstration - just please take my word for it).

    HM

     

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  164.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "Yes, it may be a practical obstacle, but doesn't negate the whole process."

    It negates 99 percent of it.

    "If you get sued over a workaround and lose, it generally means it wasn't realy a workaround."

    Please provide evidence for this and please define what constitutes a non infringing work around and what does not, and use objective measures.

    "though I don't feel any obligation to trot out my resume to actually conduct the demonstration - just please take my word for it"

    Your resume is irrelevant, it's your poor logic and terrible arguments that are of relevance here.

     

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  165.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "Further, plenty of companies create workarounds for all sorts of patents."

    and they still get sued and they still end up settling or sometimes losing the lawsuit. but your argument is that when they create workarounds and lose, it's not a real work around, which to me, suggests that you have some reasonable and objective standard for what constitutes a real work around and can provide evidence that those who have such reasonable work arounds don't have to worry about losing (and lets ignore the settlement fees or cost of litigation that one must go through to prove that something is truly a reasonable work around).

     

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  166.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    Whether juries are elected or not is irrelevant. The point is, they are (for the most part - not perfectly, of course) randomly selected from the population at large, and there is an effort to ensure that they don't have gross biases that will unfairly influence the outcome of the case.

    A "workaround" that loses in an infringement suit is, QED, not a workaround.

    I'm quite willing to bet that there is not a single governmetn document that says, "saw manufacturers are hereby reuqired to license the [insert name here] technology and incorporate it into all future table saws." Rather, a jury has basically said that there is at least one known way to deal with a known safety issue, and it's not reasonable to just ignore the safety issue when there is at least one know way to address it. No saw manufacturer is REQUIRED to incorporate the safety technology. They could charge every saw customer an extra ten bucks (or whatever) to create a fund out of which to pay judgments. That is also a perfectly legal way to deal with this. No licenss required.

    Of course, we can all shift the argument to whether this particular safety issue really IS a safety issue that we need to be worried about. However, that's not what has been proposed. For purposes of this discussion, I have been operating under the assumption that we are not really questioning wheether the safety issue really is a problem or whether the technology in question is really an answer to it. I have perceived that the queston here is simply whether a jury verdict in a product liability case which has the very practical impact of steering manufacturers to a particular patented technology (and, currently, the only known way to address the issue raised by the jury) is fairly construed as a "government requirement" that all manufacturers take out a license for said patented technology.

    Respectfully, I suggest that the answer is "no". Yes, there are some very practical issues that will absolutely steer some to take out a licesne, but there are also other factors which make it clear that taking the license is not the only way to respond.

    HM

     

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  167.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "The point is, they are (for the most part - not perfectly, of course) randomly selected from the population at large, and there is an effort to ensure that they don't have gross biases that will unfairly influence the outcome of the case."

    I'm sure that dictators who elect other dictators could just as easily claim the same thing.

    "A "workaround" that loses in an infringement suit is, QED, not a workaround."

    So then you admit that you have nothing. A company who does make a work around is just supposed to be psychic enough to know if the court will decide in its favor or not ahead of time. I guess it promotes the progress, it can encourage companies to hire better psychics and perhaps improve on their psychic abilities.

     

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  168.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "They could charge every saw customer an extra ten bucks (or whatever) to create a fund out of which to pay judgments. That is also a perfectly legal way to deal with this. No licenss required."

    but they're still being punished, by the government, for not licensing a product. and the government punishing someone for something is, effectively, the same as making a law (ie: making something illegal) being that the very purpose of a law is that if you break it you get punished.

     

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  169.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    It's quite simple, really. A workaround is designed to avoid infringement of a particular patent claim. If you get sued and lose - i.e., your workaround still infringes the patent claim - then how can you call it a workaround? You might call it an "attempted workaround" or something, I guess.

    The objective for whether a workaround is successful is essentialy the same standard for infringement. If it infringes, it's not a workaround.

    OK. Let's say a patent plaintiff sues you, claiming that your Product X1 infringes his patent, and you respond by heading back to your workshop and tinkering until you come up with Product X2, which you believe includes a workaround that gets you out of infringing the plaintiff's patent. The plaintiff can still do the infringement analysis again and claim that your "workaround" hasn't changed anything, and Product X2 ALSO infringes his patent. There's no separate standadrd for workarounds. The workaround either infringes or it doesn't. If it infringes, it's not really a workaround, because it doesn't meet the goal of not infringing the patent at issue.

    HM

     

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  170.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "It's quite simple, really. A workaround is designed to avoid infringement of a particular patent claim. If you get sued and lose - i.e., your workaround still infringes the patent claim - then how can you call it a workaround? You might call it an "attempted workaround" or something, I guess."

    but how do you determine if something is a work around ahead of time, before the lawsuit? What are the standards. Laws are supposed to be designed, at least to some extent, to make it easy for you to know the dynamics of your actions ahead of time. If there are no reasonable standards to determine this then you are simply mandating a government sanctioned risk for those who create work arounds.

     

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  171.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    Whether there is a patent involved is irrelevant, really. The case might very well have been one involving whether a certain type of steel were used in the device, and the result is that those how make the right kind of steel are now in a position to charge more for their product, since demand will arguably rise.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to know if you have some sort of fundamental objection to product liabiilty cases, and prefer a more "caveat emptor" or "laissez-faire" approach when it comes to the interaction between manufacturers and consumers? I'm not saying that would be right or wrong, but might help me understand a bit better where you're coming from on this.

    For instance, if there were multiple known ways of addressing this table saw blade issue, would you still object to a jury verdict that basically said it was unreasonable to not include some way of stopping the blade when it contacts a body part?

    HM

     

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  172.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    Basically, to define a work around on that which some court considers to be a work around is arbitrary and unpredictable, hardly a hallmark of good laws.

    and if there are any sort of objective and reasonable standards to making such determinations I'm sure that Ford would have ensured that they met those standards, they certainly have the resources and sophistication to do so. Yet they still lost even with their work around.

     

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  173.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "Whether there is a patent involved is irrelevant, really."

    Irrelevant to what, your agenda? The whole point of this article IS that a patent is involved. It's VERY relevant.

    "For instance, if there were multiple known ways of addressing this table saw blade issue, would you still object to a jury verdict that basically said it was unreasonable to not include some way of stopping the blade when it contacts a body part?"

    I object to a legal system that requires a company to license a device that's not necessary for the product to function from some other company and then to give that other company a monopoly on that device.

     

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  174.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    The manufacturer can (and many do) infringemetn analyses of their own if they have reason to believe there is a patent that might be an issue. They use the same laws the court will apply and look up the same precedent that will be presented to the court. They then make their best estimate as to how they think it will likely come out. That's just like any element of their business. You can only make reasoned estimates of risk, demand, price sensitivity, etc. There are no guarantees in any of it - not just patent risk.

    However, this sort of analysis can help mitigate the risk of being sued for patent infringement in the first place, and help provide support in case you're sued anyway.

    HM

     

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  175.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "The manufacturer can (and many do) infringemetn analyses of their own if they have reason to believe there is a patent that might be an issue."

    and you think that ford, and many others, didn't do this? What are the objective and reasonable standards for this analysis, I have yet to see you present them, and then present evidence that courts generally follow these standards.

    "You can only make reasoned estimates of risk, demand, price sensitivity, etc. There are no guarantees in any of it - not just patent risk."

    So basically they're stuck with the possibility of having to face government sanctions for not licensing some product that some patent holder has a patent on no matter what. Sounds like extortion.


    "That's just like any element of their business."

    It's an unnecessary element if only we had reasonable laws in place.

    "However, this sort of analysis" and litigation is not necessary if we don't have bogus patent laws in the first place. This sort of analysis and litigation takes resources away from innovation and directs them towards litigation.


    and even to require someone else to come up with some alternative, especially if such an alternative might be very expensive or if there are no practical alternatives given our current state of technology, in itself might be questionable.

     

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  176.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    I'm not sure what "agenda" on my part you're referring to, but I do think the patent is something of a red herring, though it has clearly made for some enthusiastic posting here.

    On that note, I think I've presented some very reasonable and informed arguments in a fairly polite manner, and don't seem to really be impacting your own thinking on this topic, so perhaps this is a good place to call it a day.

    Thanks for chatting.

    HM

     

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  177.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    "but I do think the patent is something of a red herring"

    A red herring intended to misdirect us away from what point? and what should be the intended direction of the topic? I propose it should be whatever we want it to be and Mike, the author of this post, wants to include patents in the subject matter.

     

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  178.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not quite as nefarious as you suggest...

    Thank you, and I do appreciate your arguments, it allows me (and others) a broader perspective of both sides of the issue.

     

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  179.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Another thing I think is worth noting is that to the extent that people can easily find work arounds, it defeats the purpose of the patent to begin with in that if patents give patent holders incentive to invent, it takes away said incentive from patent holders because they know that others could simply find non - infringing alternatives. To the extent that patents give people incentive to invent it gives them incentive to get patents that do not have non - infringing alternatives.

    and when corporations stock pile patents it makes it difficult to impossible for someone else to come up with a product that infringes on zero of the patents.

     

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  180.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re:

    What?! You read books?! And they let you on the jury?

     

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  181.  
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    staff, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:42am

    fraud

    "The government should never require companies to have to purchase a patent license for a technology they don't believe the market wants."

    If they really believed the market didn't want it they wouldn't be making it, now would they.

    Patent reform is a fraud on America. It is patently un-American.
    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

     

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  182.  
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    K.E.Mort (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Really a watershed case, or...?

    Ronald,

    It really has nothing to do with disliking inventors or patents. That's your red herring.

    The issue is having the patents abused. Thus is the case here. Nothing about patent law is intended to force the marketplace to implement your idea. You are not, by default, guaranteed to actually make money off of that patented idea. If the idea is so great, then it's up to you to sell it and get the market to agree it's great. Being forced into it isn't "public acceptance" or acknowledgment.

    In this case, there is no previously issued regulation which compels a table saw maker to include this SawStop technology. None whatsoever. I believe there might be some regulation regarding cutting guards for example, which all makers include to some degree.

    Whether Delta/Porter Cable or Jet or whomever else would decide to partner with SawStop to implement their patented technology is the choice of that company. Certainly they would have a unique marketing message to make there if they were, and if the marketplace honestly feels there is value in SawStop's technology.

    However, a jury ruling which essentially (as was already mentioned) creates guaranteed revenue for SawStop by either: a) rendering all other vendors open for lawsuit, or b) by creating a de facto requirement for licensing is completely and utterly in violation of the spirit and purpose of patent law.

    There is no defense for this action, and Ryobi should certainly appeal. As a 30 year user of table saws of various brands. SawStop technology's existence has been for only a scant few of those years. Personal responsibility should be the order of the day here, full stop. No woodworker, professional or hobbyist with any respect for the industry would file such a suit. Pathetic attempts at a money grab aren't part of properly implemented patent law.

    If there is to follow some sort of actual regulation, then SawStop's patent must be invalidated, or licensing must be at a fair price. If SawStop is going to win over business from the likes of Delta/PC or Jet, or any other major maker, it should be on market acceptance of their technology as superior, not a jury de facto mandate they pay extortionate prices to license a patent or get sued.

    One also should understand that the saw this fellow was using is most likely one of the "cheap" homeowner variety you can purchase for just a few hundred bucks at a local home center. This isn't even a "contractor" grade saw that runs $500 or so, and it certainly isn't a UniSaw type unit that can retail for several thousand dollars. Even SawStop's own units cost several grand.

    I certainly understand your passion for inventors and protection by patents however, where I think you fall short is in not understanding when and how they are abused. You seem to be of the opinion that it never happens, or that "any action necessary" is OK. As in anything balance is necessary.

    Certainly you cannot believe the type of activity we're seeing in this case is beneficial to patent holders or inventors?

     

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  183.  
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    K.E.Mort (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: fraud

    "If they really believed the market didn't want it they wouldn't be making it, now would they."

    SawStop believes the market wants it. Not every manufacturer is in agreement.

    There's a difference.

     

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  184.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    sorry, this is ridiculous, I'm a software engineer and i think the patent laws are stupid. did you know that Apple has patented the way you unlock a phone? it means that no one is able to have a touch interface where you slide a block from one side to the other to unlock a device.

    patents are great for the single patent holder, but are detrimental to everyone else in the industry / the population at large. I don't think you should earn all the money a single instance of a "concept to do something" as the best current technology is normally an optimized version of previous technology, and patents just stem the flow of technological advancements. it also forces companies to adopt a model of being best in the industry, not just the first.

    and yet you tell me that this is a bad economic model? i personally think its much better than the current one.

     

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  185.  
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    John Decker, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:41pm

    Patents aren't bad... FORCING patents is bad...

    "I have a friend who has one of these saws and have looked at it. Without even trying I can see ways to improve this."

    The problem with statements like this is that what you really mean is "I can imagine a better solution, but have not the energy, finances, ingenuity, or time to actually put something useful in practice, so I can imagine patenting a solution I will NEVER make, but will stand to make me money should someone else actually try to truly PRODUCE something."

    And this is what the patent office has degenerated into - and that's not even getting into software patents, or people who think they should be able to trademark the word "Monster".

    The guys at ProToolReviews.com nailed it when they wrote their editorial on safer table saws not being such a great idea and compared this whole situation to forcing manufacturers of $8000 vehicles to have to license and install anti-lock brakes... except that the breaks, once used, would cost over $100 to reset.

     

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  186.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Patents aren't bad... FORCING patents is bad...

    The thing is that coming up with ideas is far cheaper than actually implementing them. You ever heard the sain, Easier said than done? That's basically the problem with our patent system. It rewards those who "Say" and punishes those who "do."

     

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  187.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re: Patents aren't bad... FORCING patents is bad...

    It's much cheaper for lawyers to sit around in a room and come up with ideas that they want a monopoly on and to get a monopoly on those ideas and sue those who implement those ideas than it is for them to come up with ideas and actually implement them. As a result what do they do? They come up with every idea possible and sue those who implement them. and our legal system encourages this in the name of promoting the progress.

     

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  188.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    "because Google is honest"

    You have to be kidding??

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  189.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 4:03am

    Re: fraud

    If they really believed the market didn't want it they wouldn't be making it, now would they.


    Did you not read? They're not making it...

    It's a different company that's making it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  190.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 4:30am

    Re: Patents aren't bad... FORCING patents is bad...

    John Decker says: "The problem with statements like this is that what you really mean is "I can imagine a better solution, but have not the energy, finances, ingenuity, or time to actually put something useful in practice, so I can imagine patenting a solution I will NEVER make, but will stand to make me money should someone else actually try to truly PRODUCE something."

    Mr. Decker, I have been manufacturing products for over 40 years. What I was saying is that I have other priorities and have no interest in getting into this specific problem. But if I was interested in making saws I see potential ways of addressing the problem.

    Patents are not on ideas, they are for specific ways of solving a problem.

    As to cost replacement cost issue, if the SawStop product was being produced in much higher volumes that cost would likely come down. If someone actually produced an alternative invention the price will come down.

    In any event a $100 per pop to save one or more fingers is really quite reasonable. Lost wages alone would amount to far more than $100.

    Patents are expensive and time consuming to get. If people insist on stealing from other people then it is necessary to force them to change their ways.


    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  191.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Really a watershed case, or...?

    "The issue is having the patents abused."

    Yep, infringers are abusing both the patent system and inventors.

    SawStop's saws are in part expensive because they are produced in low volume. Most inventions are very expensive when they are first produced but as the product volume increases the unit cost falls.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  192.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    Ever hear of Benjamin Franklin?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  193.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 12:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hairbrained Argument

    Google is more honest than most other corporations. I'm not saying they're perfect, I'm not that gullible, but they are certainly a lot better than most.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  194.  
    icon
    kaw (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Re: You don't really

    In reponse to:

    "Just keep your fingers away from the blade. It's a dangerous tool with a lot of power. KEEP YOUR FINGERS A-W-A-WAY."

    All of the complexities of this case aside, I never understand this argument. I do applaude what I think is your intent; to urge safety. But,I don't think many injured parties meant to get their fingers into the blade. I suppose that the typical user knows its a good idea to keep his/her fingers away from the blade. Yet there are thousand of TS related injuries every year. Carelessness and complacency account for some, but there are also unexpected things that happen, and nobody is perfectly safe all of the time. Belive me, I am a dentist and a musician. My fingers are especially valuable to me, and I am ultra safe with tools. But I have to admit, I have had incidents (fortunately minor, but could have been otherwise) due to momentary lapses, or circustances beyond my control. I'm thankful to have such an ingenius and effective safety device available, ablbeit as a fail-safe of last resort.

    I know to "just keep my fingers away from the blade" so it is not particularily useful or comforting advice. If I cmae into contact with the blade for WHATEVER reason, I'd like the blade to stop. One might ask of the 700+ people who have had minimized injuries thanks to the SawStop technology, and those who have lost a finger or worse, if keeping away from the blade, or using a state of the art safety mechanism is better advice.

    I don't like lawsuits and mandates, and am not expert enough to comment on those issuses. But to the general arguments either against or dismissing a highly effective safety technology, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Some things just plain work. Seatbelts, airbags, helmets, life jackets, etc. To not use them is irresponsible. And forget the "it's my/their choice" defense, as we all end up sharing in the costs of insurance, medical treatment, litigation and so on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  195.  
    icon
    kaw (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: This is rich...

    The SawStop technology was offered to all manufacturers. It was refused on the basis of cost. Yes, Mr. Gass wanted compensation, but IMO deserved it for the time, effort and expertise put into the invention, plus the financial risks he took to bring it to market. He's not unique by any means in this respect, it happens all the time. He offered, they refused, and everyone was within their rights to make their choice. With the choice , one must accept the consequences, and I do not know what those will be.

    As to things getting unfortunate over there, I am of the opposite opinion. It would be my guess that the manufacturers who rebuked the technology will now be clammering for it, realizing that the cost of the pending litigation will far outweigh the cost of adopting the technology. I have been guessing ever since Mr. Gass gave up on the resistance of the big three, and proceeded to produce his own saw (already a success in both sales and saves), that one of the top manufactuer's would buy him out. They get a successful product and a revolutionary safety technology. He'll get a reward for his efforts larger than the royalties would have ever reached (my guess, one or two hundred million $$).

    In the end the cost of producing saws with this level of safety will come down with volume, and be a fraction of the cost involved in all aspects of the injuries it prevents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  196.  
    identicon
    annonymous, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    tablesaw's

    I just cannot believe no one has brought up the supidity of the user. As a woodworker myself this is just ridiculous I mean come on if you dont know the safety features and how to use them then dont yous the power tool. Also this is going to drive the price of the average table saw up and its not like they are already cheap. Whats next drills, routers sanders soon no one will use any tools.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  197.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Never Proves Anything / Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nathan

    Does Ronny ever respond to this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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