SawStop Sues Bosch Over Patent Infringement
The lawsuit that we knew was coming ever since we first saw the Bosch REAXX Table Saw has begun. Bosch is set to release the REAXX later this year, but SawStop is pursuing legal action to put the brakes on that… at least in the US. The SawStop lawsuit claims that Bosch has violated their US patent rights in the development of the REAXX system.
“SawStop has invested millions of dollars developing inventions to protect woodworkers from serious injury, 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. 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.”
-SawStop President, Dr. Stephen Gass
So there it is. Papers have been filed with the court system. Before we take sides and start a rallying cry, let’s look at this objectively for a moment.
SawStop developed the first table saw blade stopping system that was actually reliable and left nothing more than a nick as evidence. This was massive, groundbreaking technology at the time, and still is. SawStop has every right to question whether Bosch used any of their technology in developing the REAXX Table saw.
On the other hand, Bosch and every other brand that makes table saws have the right to develop technology independently that can achieve the same results as SawStop.
What we’re not looking at is a Chinese company copying a product as trying to sell it as an original. The conspiracy theories can fly anyway that the wind blows at this point. All you have to do is look at the individual saws to see the difference though. SawStop employs a blade brake in combination with an angular dive below the surface. This process takes less than 5 milliseconds, but typically damages the blade.
Bosch’s system also employs a blade brake and sends the blade below deck. However, they’ve used technology from the automotive side of their company and employed cartridges that literally plunge the blade below deck similar to how an airbag system works. While we don’t have exact figures on how fast their system is, we do know that it’s crazy fast and doesn’t harm the blade in the process. If interested, you can read our more detailed comparison of the Bosch ReaXX vs SawStop table saws.
Both systems accomplish the same thing, but—as far as we can discern—in clearly different ways. However, both companies use the fact that human skin (and hot dogs) are conductive whereas wood is not and use an electrical signal to activate the safety device.
What do I think is going on? Well, it’s just speculation at this point, but the folks at Bosch aren’t idiots by any means. You can bet that they were aware of each one of SawStop’s patents as they developed the REAXX system. I imagine that they went out of their way to compare each part of their technology against it and then had their own patent attorneys go over the entire thing again when they were done. They’ve probably anticipated each objection that SawStop has and have already begun preparing their defense of it. That’s not to say that SawStop is ignorant, either (particularly since it’s owner/inventor is, we believe, a patent attorney by trade). My guess is that they are going to ask Bosch to defend each component of their system to prove that it doesn’t violate their patent rights. Since there aren’t any samples of the REAXX running around, it’s not likely that they could have identified any specific violations. But, as I said before, they have the right to ensure that there aren’t any.
If the quality of character in the people I’ve met at Bosch is any indication, I don’t anticipate that we’ll see any violations come to light. The question that remains is whether or not the lawsuit will delay the launch of Bosch’s REAXX system to the marketplace. We hope not.
We’ll keep you up to date on any major developments as this story unfolds.
SawStop is already on the market! Get yours at Acme Tools!