Updated: Bosch vs SawStop
Bosch Power Tools created an industry buzz when they released the Reaxx tablesaw, which features their version of a flesh-sensing technology to stop a blade before injury occurs during a user mishap. The Sawstop company, which created their own flesh-sensing safety mechanisms for tablesaws a decade ago, responded by filing a lawsuit against Bosch with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), claiming patent infringement.
Last Friday, Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender ruled that Bosch’s Reaxx saw was, in fact, infringing on SawStop’s patents: “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.” –U.S. I.T.C., Inv. No. 337-TA-965
After the ruling, SawStop is asking U.S. Customs to prohibit any Reaxx saws from entering the United States. Sawstop also wants Bosch to stop advertising and selling the saws and associated parts, which might include replacement cartridges essential to the saw’s operation.
Dr. Stephen Gass, SawStop’s president, notes that “the technology in SawStop saws wouldn’t have made it to market except for the protection offered by the United States patent system. We have invested millions of dollars in research and development to protect woodworkers from serious injury, and our inventions have been awarded numerous patents. Bosch chose to introduce the Reaxx saw in disregard of our patents, and we were left with no alternative but to defend our patent rights in court. We are very pleased Judge Pender confirmed that Bosch infringes our patents.”
Bosch released an official statement: “We believe that advanced REAXX safety technology does not violate any competitor’s intellectual property rights. … The patents asserted against REAXX are based on applications filed more than 15 years ago; Bosch does not believe they apply to REAXX technology. … Bosch has vigorously defended, and will continue to defend, its ability to make REAXX table saws available in the United States. In addition, Bosch will continue to pursue its own claim of patent infringement against the competitor filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The ongoing litigation has no effect on distributors’ ability to buy or sell Bosch REAXX table saws. REAXX cartridges, accessories and service parts are available.”
This is certainly not the end of litigation. The next step is for the USITC to decide if it should adopt, modify, or reject Judge Pender’s determination.
12/1/16 UPDATE: The following is an excerpt from a press release issued by SawStop today
On November 10th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) confirmed Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender’s previous patent infringement findings against Robert Bosch Tool Corporation. The ITC will now consider Judge Pender’s recommended next steps including “a cease and desist order issue against Robert Bosch Tool Corp.,” regarding importation of the infringing Reaxx saw and activation cartridges into the United States.