In the ongoing SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx litigation, SawStop has emerged as the victor, with Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender ruling in their favor. The lawsuit revolves around patent infringement, dating back to the release of the Reaxx saw. This article delves into the history, controversies, differences in table saw protection methods, the judge’s decision, and the reactions from both companies.
A Bit of History on the SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx Lawsuit
The Bosch Tools table saw lawsuit was initiated even before Bosch developed its own flesh detection table saw solution, the Bosch Reaxx table saw. SawStop, created by attorney and “avid woodworker” Steve Gass, introduced a patented technology that aimed to enhance the safety of table saws. Gass attempted to persuade manufacturers to adopt the technology through licensing agreements, but faced limited support. Subsequently, he proposed legislation to the Consumer Protection and Safety Commission (CPSC) to enforce the mandatory use of his patented technology. Surprisingly, the CPSC commissioners agreed to his recommendation, despite strong opposition from the Power Tools Association, an alliance of major tool manufacturers.
PTI Details Its Specific Issues
The Power Tool Institute (PTI) raises concerns regarding the adoption of SawStop technology. They claim that implementing this technology would increase manufacturing costs, leading to higher prices for consumers. Additionally, PTI considers the licensing fee imposed by Gass as excessive and bordering on monopolistic behavior. They also highlight potential drawbacks such as false positives, expensive brake mechanism replacements, and the risk of saw blade damage during false trips. The existing Underwriters Laboratories document ANSI/UL 987 already incorporates safety guidelines for table saws, emphasizing the maintenance of a safe distance from the blades.
Differences in Table Saw Protection Methods
SawStop and Bosch Reaxx employ different approaches to table saw safety. The Bosch Reaxx uses airbag-style cartridges to flush the blades beneath the tabletop upon detecting conductance (human contact). The blade continues spinning during this descent without sustaining damage. SawStop, on the other hand, utilizes a mechanism that halts the blade instantly upon physical contact, leaving only a minor nick on the user’s skin. Both technologies underwent rigorous testing, with SawStop demonstrating slightly better results in terms of minimizing user injury.
The Judge’s Decision
Despite noticeable differences between the two saws, Judge Pender concluded that there were underlying similarities indicating patent infringement. His preliminary determination stated that the technology employed by Bosch Reaxx is related to the claims made in SawStop’s patents. This decision favored SawStop in their pursuit to defend their intellectual property.
Dr. Stephen Gass, President of SawStop, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the lawsuit. He credits the U.S. patent system for protecting their innovative technology, which aims to prevent serious injuries among woodworkers. In light of Bosch’s infringement, SawStop had no choice but to defend their patents in court.
Robert Bosch North America Litigation Reaxxion
Bosch responded to the ruling, stating that they respect the patents of other companies and have developed their professional table saws independently. They believe that their REAXX technology does not infringe on competitors’ intellectual property rights. However, legal proceedings are ongoing, and Bosch intends to continue defending their ability to sell REAXX table saws in the United States.
Potential Fallout from SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx Lawsuit
The outcome of this lawsuit may have significant consequences for Reaxx owners, as the import and sale of Reaxx saws and cartridges have been halted. Replacement cartridges, an essential component for using Reaxx saws, are unavailable. However, Bosch aims to find a solution through further legal proceedings or potential settlements.
While some may question whether Bosch reverse-engineered SawStop’s technology to develop the Reaxx, the physics of detecting conductance are relatively straightforward. Multiple paths can lead to the same solution once the theory is proven to be factual. However, US patent law protects inventions, ensuring that others do not infringe upon existing technologies. As a result, it is likely that more SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx lawsuits will arise in the future.
The Bottom Line
The recent ruling favors SawStop in the SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx lawsuit, leading to the cessation of Reaxx saw import and sales. However, further litigation is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn. The future of Bosch’s safety table saws depends on the ongoing legal proceedings.
Updated: January 27, 2017 – The Final Nail in the Coffin for the Bosch Reaxx?
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a limited exclusion order against Robert Bosch Tool Corporation and Robert Bosch GmbH. This restricts them from selling Reaxx saws or parts in the US. Additionally, a cease and desist order was issued against Robert Bosch Tools, and investigations regarding certain patents were closed. SawStop withdrew allegations against these patents.
Recent updates shed light on the SawStop vs. Bosch Reaxx lawsuit. The ruling is currently under a 60-day review period, during which no changes will occur regarding Reaxx sales, deliveries, and repairs. Both parties’ lawyers will assess the results and seek a way forward before the ruling takes effect. Reaxx owners can find relief in the knowledge that Bosch can still manufacture and sell activation cartridges in the United States, ensuring the continued safe use of their saws.
Official Response from Robert Bosch Corporation
Robert Bosch Tools expresses disappointment with the ITC’s decision. They firmly stand by the claim that their professional table saw products respect other companies’ patents and embody unique technological advancements in the construction industry. Bosch vows to appeal the ruling through the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, reaffirming their commitment to consumer safety.
Official Response from SawStop
SawStop appreciates the ITC’s order, which excludes unlicensed use of their patented technology and confirms the strength of their patents. They emphasize that their technology would not have entered the market without the protection offered by the US patent system. SawStop remains dedicated to bringing safer saws to the market through ongoing innovation.
Final Update: March 23, 2017
As the 60-day waiting period nears its end, Bosch assures its customers that their service and repair support for previously purchased Reaxx table saws will continue. However, the ITC’s ruling requires Bosch to cease sales of REAXX table saws from March 27, 2017, unless the decision is overturned during the review period. Resellers who previously bought REAXX table saws are unaffected by the order and can sell them to end users. Bosch remains committed to defending their ability to sell REAXX saws through the appeals process.