Messages Archive

Re: New PROPOSED table saw legislation

Bob Lang
I probably should have been more careful in my selection of words. My statement wasn't referring to the basic principle of patent law, which of course favors one company over another. I was referring to the way some companies use the law to get patent protection far beyond the original intent of the law.

Examples of this are everywhere, perhaps pharmaceutical companies are the most egregious. One of the meds my father-in-law takes recently changed from a round pill to an oval pill. Minor changes generate a new patent for a new product effectively doubling the life of the patent protection.

For an interesting exercise do a Google patent search for "Stephen Gass" as inventor. I just did that and generated more than 280 hits. I don't have the patience to wade through them all, but there is an obvious pattern.

Many of these are "improvements" to the original SawStop patent, with relatively recent dates. I don't see a clever guy trying to protect his ideas from would be competitors; I see somebody trying to sew up a significant market segment by patenting every possible part multiple times. If you were trying to compete with that you would spend a fortune on legal fees just in researching the existing patents. Unless our current system is changed the SawStop patents will never expire.

That's what I meant by "laws get bent and twisted to favor one company". For what it's worth I think the SawStop was a great idea. I also think the greater good is served if there is no monopoly granted by our legal and regulatory system. SawStop has an incredibly large market share, and if it were me I would be happy with that.

Bob Lang

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