|Forum topic by StumpyNubs||posted 07-16-2015 07:15 PM||7916 views||0 times favorited||183 replies|
07-16-2015 07:15 PM
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.”
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.
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