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UPDATED: Sawstop vs. Bosch Lawsuit- Judge finds in favor of Sawstop

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Forum topic by StumpyNubs posted 07-16-2015 07:15 PM 8065 views 0 times favorited 183 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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StumpyNubs

6852 posts in 2262 days


07-16-2015 07:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop

UPDATE- Today (9/13/16) Sawstop issued a press release that said the US Trade Commission judge found in their favor in their case against Bosch for patent infringement over their Reax job-site saw that uses flesh-sensing technology. The Judge said:

“Based on the foregoing, it is my Initial Determination that there is a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 1337, in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain table saws incorporating active injury mitigation technology and components thereof, in connection with the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,895,927 and 8,011,279.”

Sawstop is asking the court to stop the importation of Bosch Reax saws into the US. It is unclear what “initial determination” means, but this lawsuit is clearly not over.

This thread was originally posted at the beginning of the lawsuit. The original thread is below…

BREAKING NEWS: SawStop​ sues Bosch over flesh sensing technology. Viewers of our Behind the Sawdust news show know that Bosch recently released their own version of a job site saw featuring technology that senses contact with flesh, preventing accidents. Sawstop claims patents for several of the saw’s features. They are a relatively small US based company while Bosch is a German company with a MASSIVE market share, making this a true “David vs. Goliath” case. It will be interesting to see what the courts say.

Sawstop’s original pres release is below:

Tualatin, OR — July 16, 2015 — SawStop, LLC, the world leader in table saw safety, today announced that it has filed complaints at the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Oregon against Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany and its subsidiary Robert Bosch Tool Corporation to stop infringement of SawStop’s patented inventions.

After years of denying the need for active injury mitigation technology on table saws, Bosch has announced that it intends to release a table saw that incorporates numerous inventions developed and patented by SawStop. As part of the lawsuit, SawStop is asking the ITC to exclude Bosch’s infringing table saws from entry into the United States, and to order Bosch to stop advertising and selling infringing products in the United States.

“SawStop has invested millions of dollars developing inventions to protect woodworkers from serious injury,” said Dr. Stephen Gass, SawStop’s President, “and those inventions have been awarded patents. Patents are the cornerstone of American innovation, protecting the work of inventors from unauthorized use. A foreign corporation like Bosch, who takes advantage of the American patent system by filing multiple patent applications every day, should respect the patents awarded to others instead of relying on its size and financial resources to disregard those patents.”

“We are proud of the difference our table saws have made in the lives of woodworkers,” said Dr. Gass. “SawStop saws have already saved thousands of woodworkers from serious injury. And although Bosch is one of the world’s largest companies with billions of dollars in annual revenue, we will vigorously defend our patent rights.”

Bosch has not issued a press release. If they do, I’ll add it here.

(Note- Sawstop is a minor sponsor of stumpynubs.com, meaning they have an ad on the site which they pay a small fee for. That fee is not nearly significant enough to affect my opinion of this matter or their machines, or my equally favorable opinion of the Bosch tools I own, even if that opinion were for sale. Besides, you don’t have to trust my opinion because I am posting the actual patents below for you to review, decide for yourself, and comment accordingly.)

I contacted Sawstop and they provided the patents in question:

I won’t burden you with the full text. However, here are excerpts from the Federal filing including its list of infringing patents:

• On June 5, 2007, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 7,225,712 (the ‘712 Patent), titled “Motion Detecting System for Use in A Safety System for Power Equipment.”

• On October 13, 2009, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 7,600,455 (the ‘455 Patent), titled “Logic Control for Fast-Acting Safety System.”

• On November 3, 2009, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 7,610,836 (the ‘836 Patent), titled “Replaceable Brake Mechanism for Power Equipment.”

• On March 1, 2011, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 7,895,927 (the ‘927 Patent), titled “Power Equipment with Detection and Reaction Systems.”

• On September 6, 2011, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 8,011,279 (the ‘279 Patent), titled “Power Equipment with Systems to Mitigate or Prevent Injury.”

• On June 5, 2012, the United States Patent & Trademark Office duly issued U.S. Patent No. 8,191,450 (the ‘450 Patent), titled “Power Equipment with Detection and Reaction Systems.”

Here's the database if you wish to read them.

I have done some reading of the patents and to me it seems that, unless the patents are somehow judged to be invalid, they do cover the technology used by Bosch. Maybe Bosch hopes to claim that the technology is somehow “unpatentable”, or that the patents are “too broad”. Time will tell.

The patent that covers replaceable cartridges includes: “Woodworking machines… having cutting tools adapted to cut workpieces…. include a safety system adapted to detect one or more dangerous conditions between a person and the cutting tool, and to stop movement of the cutting tool upon detection of the dangerous condition. At least part of the safety system is housed in a removable cartridge.”

This not only covers a pivoting brake (which Bosch doesn’t use) but a cartridge that disables the motor upon firing (which Bosch does use).

It may be argued by Bosch that their claim is too broad, and I am not sure that they could prevent someone from making a pivoting cartridge, for example, in itself. But there are eighteen features listed in the patent, and they will likely argue that the Bosch system copies enough of those eighteen features to make it a too similar to theirs. In this particular example, it looks like Bosch copies at least seven of the eighteen features, and at least three more if there is a spring mechanism within the Bosch cartridge.

Bosch will likely argue that theirs may copy some of the features in this patent, but because the Sawstop cartridge works as a brake, and theirs does not, they are sufficiently different. (This may be a faulty argument because, in fact, Sawstop’s cartridge works as a brake AND an off switch to the motor AND drops the blade beneath the table, and Bosch is copying two of those three features.)

The patent concerning the detection system which sets off the cartridge says: “A woodworking machine including a detection system adapted to detect a dangerous condition between a person and a working portion of the machine is disclosed. The machine includes a reaction system associated with the detection system to cause a predetermined action to take place relative to the working portion upon detection of the dangerous condition. A motion detection system is adapted to detect motion of the working portion and to disable the reaction system when the working portion is not moving. The motion detection system may include a sensor, such as a Hall effect sensor, an electromagnetic field sensor, an optical sensor, or an electrical sensor. The woodworking machine may take the form of a saw, the working portion may be a blade adapted to cut when spinning, and the dangerous condition may be a person contacting the blade.”

There are twenty specific features to this patent, including the use of an electrical signal to detect contact with flesh that is connected to a control system for a table saw which determines if the blade is moving. It also covers the use of a rotatable arbor as part of the triggered mechanism designed to drop the blade (which the Bosch clearly does).

This patent is very specific. It doesn’t try and say EVERYTHING that detects flesh is protected. Rather, it lists very clear criteria including magnetic “Hall effect”, capacitive or optical sensors, and the specific process of measuring the drop in voltage in an electric signal when applied to these conditions. It requires the mechanism to be applied to a spinning blade, dropping arbor and only in woodworking machinery. So the common touch lamp mechanism would not be included (an argument made int he comments below).

Bosch appears to be copying nearly every one of the features listed in this patent. Again, it will be up to the courts to decide if they have changed their design enough to get away with it.

Another important patent concerning the use of an explosive charge says:

“the method comprising: moving the cutting tool; detecting a dangerous condition between a person and the cutting tool; and retracting the cutting tool below the work surface within approximately 14 milliseconds after the dangerous condition is detected by the detection system…further comprising firing an explosive to cause the retracting of the cutting tool.”

Some have pointed out that the Bosch system uses an explosive charge to retract the blade, while Sawstop uses a spring. This patent states that using an explosive charge is protected. And an examination of a fired cartridge shows that an explosion DOES occur when it is set off, which is how the spring is released. So Sawstop was also the first tu use a controlled explosion to drop the blade, something the Bosch system copies.

Of course, these are just three of the six patent violations they are charged with.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/


183 replies so far

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

493 posts in 2783 days


#1 posted 07-16-2015 07:19 PM

Beat to the punch by a few minutes. http://lumberjocks.com/topics/108506

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3551 posts in 2023 days


#2 posted 07-16-2015 07:38 PM

If I remember right he applied for the patent 9 years ago but it just did not catch on. So after 7 years the patent is open to everyone.

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> http://www.gofundme.com/m1abko.....It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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Kazooman

624 posts in 1414 days


#3 posted 07-16-2015 07:48 PM



If I remember right he applied for the patent 9 years ago but it just did not catch on. So after 7 years the patent is open to everyone.

- Arlin Eastman

If he filed nine years ago he still has a lot of life in his patents.

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

419 posts in 1007 days


#4 posted 07-16-2015 08:07 PM

Yeah you can re-file for up to 20 years I think. Been a while since I had a patent training course. Based on what I’ve seen though I don’t think Sawstop has a leg to stand on here since they have two different mechanisms for getting the blade out of the way. Even if they did Bosch’s lawyers will eat them alive.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1182 days


#5 posted 07-16-2015 08:12 PM

As much as I can appreciate a well thought out design (whether or not it’s something I actually need), the system Bosch has employed is superior. 1) It doesn’t destroy the blade. 2) I has a second cartridge ready to keep you up and working. Another one of Gass’s attempts at generating revenue.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7210 posts in 2837 days


#6 posted 07-16-2015 08:13 PM

Hhhmmm….just when I was getting over the attempt to force his invention on everyone through legislation, this pops up…. are Gass’ true colors showing?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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StumpyNubs

6852 posts in 2262 days


#7 posted 07-16-2015 08:52 PM

I think the issue isn’t the cartridge style, which is obviously different in the Bosch, but the process of charging the cartridge which is what makes the technology work, and the process of dropping the blade beneath the table as a means of neutralizing the danger. Both were ideas developed by Sawstop, which the new Bosch employs. The question is, are those two ideas fully protected by patents?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

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mramseyISU

419 posts in 1007 days


#8 posted 07-16-2015 09:34 PM

I’ve got a few patents myself and generally speaking I don’t think you can patent a idea like dropping the blade to neutralize danger. For instance I have a patent for heating a process pump using an electric cartridge heater. Other companies use cartridge heaters to heat pumps and were doing before I started working on it. I got a patent on specifically where I applied the heat. So you have two similar but different methods of doing the same thing.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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StumpyNubs

6852 posts in 2262 days


#9 posted 07-16-2015 10:03 PM

I know nothing about patents. I am merely saying that while the Bosch cartridge LOOKS different, it WORKS in essentially the same way. It will be up to the courts to decide if that is a violation. But I do know that they are smart people at Sawstop, with smart lawyers, and they would be very dumb to go to court against a much bigger company if they didn’t have at least some standing.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

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MrUnix

4216 posts in 1661 days


#10 posted 07-16-2015 10:11 PM


I know nothing about patents. I am merely saying that while the Bosch cartridge LOOKS different, it WORKS in essentially the same way.

Not really. Sawstop uses a compressed spring to activate the mechanism, and rams the blade into a hunk of metal. Bosch uses .22 cal. shells to move a piston to drop the blade, and the blade remains unharmed.

The only similarity between the two is that they both drop the blade below the table.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1182 days


#11 posted 07-16-2015 10:22 PM

SS stated quite some time ago they would take anyone to court that came up a design to mitigate table saw injuries. The act of dropping the blade below the table is secondary on the SS as it’s a reaction of stopping (and destroying) the blade nearly instantly by way of the dissipated kinetic energy in the blade and associated parts into the brake shoe. The blade dropping below the table (and not being destroyed) is a primary and exclusive function of removing the danger in the Bosch saw. Bosch will no doubt pull up one of their many patents on airbag activation technology that will be much older than anything Gass can hope to dig up. Bottom line, they have the ability to spend more researching market viability, even with guaranteed legal hurdles than Gass and his entire corporation are worth. They would not have brought this saw to market if they were not guaranteed to defeat anyone claiming foul.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3039 days


#12 posted 07-16-2015 10:22 PM

Dr. Gass may or may not prevail in his law suit but I like the idea of other companies trying to make a safer saw.
I’m grateful that he developed the Saw Stop it means there are lots less folks that will not get injured.
The political debate I’ll leave to others.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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StumpyNubs

6852 posts in 2262 days


#13 posted 07-16-2015 10:37 PM

Like I said, the cartridges are different. But the TECHNOLOGY is essentially the same. What I mean is, Sawstop developed the “flesh sensing technology”- the way the blade knows when your finger touches it. That is done by using an electrical charge which passes through the arbor into the blade. When you touch it your body completes the circuit and the saw reads the drop in voltage, triggering the mechanism. That was Sawstop’s innovation more than anything else. Is that patentable? I don’t know.

Bosch uses that technology to trigger their own cartridge design, which does appear to fire differently than Sawstop’s, which works much like a fuse.

And one thought about the Sawstop brake- I have set mine off several times (never with n accident) and never damaged my blade. But I do like having a brake in addition to the drop below the table. It is faster. I don’t know if that difference will mean much in an accident situation, but I like having it.

All that aside, the Sawstop saw is the bet quality I have ever used, hands down. I’d buy it even without the flesh sensing technology.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

493 posts in 2783 days


#14 posted 07-16-2015 10:47 PM

I have a funny feeling the case will hinge more on the flesh identification sub-system than the sub-systems beyond that in the chain of events.

In a very general sense I would lay the odds SLIGHTLY in Bosch’s favor, they wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t think they had a solid chance to win, they knew this would happen and would have had a team working on the chances of winning this exact suit from the beginning. SS on the other hand HAS to do this no matter the odds, if they can be seen as not protecting their patent then it becomes worthless.

While I find some of Gass’ methods, particularly the legislative approach, outside my comfort zone I feel pretty confident that most if not all of the naysayers regarding this particular suit would do the exact same thing in his position unless they had been benevolent enough to give away the plans for free when they first invented it but then they wouldn’t be in the position now anyway.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

624 posts in 1414 days


#15 posted 07-16-2015 10:59 PM

As I mentioned elsewhere, it will all come down to just how the patent claims were worded, prior art, and (unfortunately) the skill of the legal teams to persuade the judges who will decide the merits of the cases. Until This is all sorted out there is nothing but speculation on the merits of either position.

The two systems work differently to remove the blade from the offending flesh. However, stopping the blade and getting it away from the finger is only the second part of the equation. The first issue is detecting that the finger and blade have come in contact. I am quite confident that the SawStop detection technology would be patentable, if it can be shown that there is no prior art that teaches that this would be obvious. I am not aware that anyone has challenged this aspect of the invention. If this is a patentable concept, and if it has not been deemed obvious by prior art, then SawStop owns this technology for triggering any system for stopping a saw blade from removing fingers. Bosch may well hold many patents on systems that fire cartridges for air bags or 22 shells to lower saw blades, but something has to set those systems off. If Gass invented the mechanism that allows these safety systems to detect contact between flesh and the saw blade and then fire the safety system he has a very strong position.

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