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AdmiralSenn View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 December 2004 at 9:35pm
Oh, and I took your assumption and made it fact - I've been reading some Doc Nickel stuff. Here's an excerpt:

"-SP files a patent in '96. The original patent never issues, but they file continuations and/or CiPs on the parent. In the mean-time, they build their markers and allow others to do the same. At the time, nobody else realizes that they're infringing on a patent because until recently, pending applications were confidential (this is no longer the case). So, they continue this process for a while until a big enough market exists, and then they finally allow one of their patents to issue. Now, they have a whole market that is infringing on their patents that they can sue."

From


http://www.network54.com/Forum/message?forumid=9013&messagei d=1058942255

if you need to read about continuations and continuations-in-part.

That sums up my idea about SP's strategy quite nicely.. except that Doc has more details. And yes, I did work out a nearly identical conclusion without reading this page first. SP probably did this on purpose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AdmiralSenn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 9:30pm
Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:


Hrmph. I wasn't twisting. That was an honest attempt at summarizing your point.


Quote I'm saying that companies should not take actions that would injure the INDUSTRY (or market), or give them a MAJOR advantage over every other company in the market.


Double hrmph. You dismiss my summary, and then proceed to repeat it as your own.


"Industry" = competitors. "Injuring the industry" = "injuring their competitors." And "major" = "significant". "Major advantage" = "significant advantage".


You repeated my summary almost verbatim. All you did was change "significant" to "major". What you are saying is that companies should compete, but not too much.


That suggestion, unless you happen to be a raging communist (which I don't think you are) is, in a word, ludicrous.




Re-read what I said. "Industry" and "competitors" are not synonymous. And I used major and significant in totally different ways than the way you used them. Once again I am left with the distinct impression that you only skim posts from me..

I agree that companies should have competition between themselves. When I speak of the "industry" I mean the entire paintball world... all companies, all products, the sport, the players, the retailers, everything. My local proshop and Smart Parts do not compete on gun technology, but if Smart Parts does something to damage them, they have damaged my community's paintball industry, not just the store. Now all the players and supporters and teams that get money or parts or anything from the store are hurt, too.

"Significant" means noteworthy, in my post. Again, Tippmann just received a large investment from an outside company. That is a significant advantage. If Tippmann had, for example, suddenly patented all guns with blowback systems (a la CVX valve, etc), assuming it went through, that would be a MAJOR advantage - Tippmann now controls a ridiculous segment of the paintball market: The majority of the majority of players use blowback semis. (FYI, if Tippmann actually sought and/or received a patent that broad, even if it shut down another company (say Kingman) that I don't prefer, I would still be upset and probably boycott Tippmann as much as I am boycotting Smart Parts).

Again you either twist or misinterpret my words. I never said anything about how much companies should compete with each other, I said that no company should have complete control (or near-complete control) over a segment of the market as large as all electronic paintball guns, which is essentially what SP has/had). Competition and domination are two different concepts. Competition implies that there are other companies still around to compete with. Any action severe enough to actually ruin other companies implies that either the ruined company was inferior, or the new leader is pulling some cheap shots to force them out of business.

It is not competition when your goal is to control everything. Having a vendetta against your rival is one thing. That's competition, and companies get shut down frequently because of it. But when a company shifts their aim from their competitors to a whole market, the market is stifled (assuming they succeed).

So, in a sense, you are right, I sort of am saying that companies should not compete too much. That's just an incredibly simplistic way of saying it, and loses the meaning of what I'm trying to say.

Basically, it's the responsibility of both the agressor company (in this case SP) and the "victim" company (say AGD or AKALMP) to not let the others control the whole market. Getting a patent as broad as SP's undermines competition, and goes to direct attack. Competition is more like competing prices and technology, not going after your opponent in a devastating legal battle.

And as for SP having to patent things so broadly.. hardly. If they'd really wanted to be fair about things, they should have patented the style of board they used, or the specific combination of components.

The idea of SP being "made" to patent things incredibly broadly is ludicrous. It is their job to draw a line that prevents others from stealing their idea but allows for further innovation: SP did not invent the electropneumatic gun, they invented a single way of building one. According to the wording of that patent, if someone came up with an entirely different way of using an electropneumatic system to increase the firing rate, SP would still own it. Even if it was something as weird as, say, a special magnetic charging system used to activate the bolt, if there is a microswith activated by the trigger, that invention is "owned" by Smart Parts. Even though it has nothing to do with a solenoid or air valves or any of the rest of the patent, this magnetic-bolt idea is covered.

What's really funny is that they had it fairly specific the first time, and revised it to include any gun using a microswitch. Combine all this with their patent on the touch-trigger and all the other SP paintball gun patents, and it becomes very clear (or should I say patently obvious? Hyuk hyuk) that SP is out to own the idea of electronics on a paintball gun. Period. That's not an invention. They did not invent any of this, they had the idea and hired another man to do it for them. To first claim that they invented the idea, then to claim that the entire concept is theirs too, is a monopolistic act.

Again, all the other companies should be on their toes to make sure none of their competitors get too far ahead. But undercutting existing products is not competition, it's an attack. Instead of trying to improve on designs (competition), they simply try to control all of them (domination).

Competition is progressive, domination is regressive. Look at Microsoft. Windows 98 worked great, except for networking. So they come out with the new NT-based OS's (like XP), and take away the stability and everything else that was good about 98. Regression: They have no major competition to worry about (yet).



This is the last time I'll summarize something in this post (since I've done it a few times already, and gotten distracted each time): Smart Parts has a right to compete with other companies by moving forward and trying to beat them. However, it stops being competition and turns into downright meanness when they try to yank other company's products out from under them, instead of making new, better ones. SP continues to insist that all of its products are superior to everyone else's... if so, why shut them down? Greed? And if not, then it's simply lying as an advertising gimmick. If they're so superior, why not just best everyone else with new technology, rather than *suddenly realizing* that they could just down everyone else's in one move?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 8:39pm
Originally posted by Lightningbolt Lightningbolt wrote:

I guess I just haven't invested as much time into this as some others so I must ask,  does SP have rights on ALL electro guns?

...

Then on the other hand, the last time I skimmed the patent it seemed way to broad for my liking.  The finger should be pointed at the individual that allowed for such a broad patent to pass.

The full applications of the patent have not yet been tested (and now probably never will be).  It could be argued a couple of different ways.  There is no doubt that this was a very broad patent, but that does not in itself make it invalid.  It is possible to essentially patent most/all present and future applications of a concrete idea.  Is it possible to develop an electro gun that circumvents the patent?  Maybe.  Does the the patent cover most/all electros currently in production?  Probably.

The thing about patents is that they HAVE to be broad (to some extent) to be meaningful.  Let's say I invented an electronic paintball gun, the first paintball gun with a battery in existence.  Revolutionary idea.  The central feature is a battery-powered solenoid that operates the mechanism.  I patent this.  Then some guy attaches a noid to a different marker mechanism, and says that he isn't infringing my patent.  Same trigger, same battery, same noid, except that his noid trips a sear instead of pushing a bolt.  Is is unreasonable of me to feel that this guy is cheating me?  How about the guy who comes out with a gun with a noid that pushes a bolt, but no trigger - only a breakbeam.  Should I feel cheated by him?

If you invented a better mousetrap and patented it, and some guy comes up with a near-clone (even if it is superior) that squeezes through the cracks in your patent, wouldn't you be upset?

As soon as something is invented - anything - competitors will immediately rush out with variations.  If patents cannot protect against these variations, we might as well not have patents at all.  Any patent on the Shocker that did not also cover the B2K would not be much of a patent at all.

As to the patent in question - I have discussed this with numerous patent attorneys.  The consensus is that it is an aggressive patent, but certainly not obviously overbroad.  You will notice that WDP chose as their first strategy not to challenge the validity of the patent, but instead went digging deep in SP history to find Dr. Hensel and buy him out (and they paid him well).  If the patent were so obviously overbroad, would one not think that WDP, who obviously has excellent lawyers, would have challenged the patent first, rather than pursuing this more elaborate strategy?

Could the patent be overturned in court?  Maybe.  But the simple fact that nobody has tried is de facto evidence that it would not be a slam dunk.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 8:20pm
Originally posted by AdmiralSenn AdmiralSenn wrote:

Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:

Can I summarize, Senn?

"Companies should not take actions that would injure a significant number of their competitors, or otherwise give them a significant advantage in the market."

Is that about right?



Of course not. If you keep twisting my words that way, I'm going to lose all respect for you.

Hrmph.  I wasn't twisting.  That was an honest attempt at summarizing your point.

Quote I'm saying that companies should not take actions that would injure the INDUSTRY (or market), or give them a MAJOR advantage over every other company in the market.

Double hrmph.  You dismiss my summary, and then proceed to repeat it as your own.

"Industry" = competitors.  "Injuring the industry" = "injuring their competitors."  And "major" = "significant".  "Major advantage" = "significant advantage".

You repeated my summary almost verbatim.  All you did was change "significant" to "major".  What you are saying is that companies should compete, but not too much. 

That suggestion, unless you happen to be a raging communist (which I don't think you are) is, in a word, ludicrous.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightningbolt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 8:16pm

I guess I just haven't invested as much time into this as some others so I must ask,  does SP have rights on ALL electro guns?

I'm keeping my interest in the matter at the consumer level.  Either I like a piece of equipment or I don't.  It's as simple as that.

I am involved in 3 building companies being the Vice President of the parent company of the 3. From this standpoint, it's easy to understand why SP want's to guard what they consider to be theirs.  Then on the other hand, the last time I skimmed the patent it seemed way to broad for my liking.  The finger should be pointed at the individual that allowed for such a broad patent to pass.

In a much more mature and evolved market (snowmobiling) patents occur all of the time as well as infringments.  When company A comes out with a design and patents it you know what company B,C and D do?  They hit the drawing board and come up with a sometimes better and different take on the technology.  It's better for the sport that way.  Keeps the thinking fresh.



Edited by Lightningbolt
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AdmiralSenn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 6:12pm
Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:

Can I summarize, Senn?


"Companies should not take actions that would injure a significant number of their competitors, or otherwise give them a significant advantage in the market."


Is that about right?



Of course not. If you keep twisting my words that way, I'm going to lose all respect for you. You wouldn't want to lose the respect of a teenage loser you don't even know, would you?

I'm saying that companies should not take actions that would injure the INDUSTRY (or market), or give them a MAJOR advantage over every other company in the market. Example: Tippmann's new investor is a significant advantage - they have money to burn, figuratively speaking. Owning the rights to every single electronic gun on the market is a major advantage, and an unfair one - it has harmed the industry by shutting down other products that were arguably superior.

I probably wouldn't care as much if the patent wasn't so broad (I believe several analysts have already said that they can't see how it was issues. I'm talking patent analysts, not little kids.. I'll have to dig that up later). If they had patented, say, a specific solenoid/microswitch (or a combination of both), or maybe a specific board design, that would be different. I also would be a lot happier if they'd just let well enough alone. I still would violently dislike Smart Parts, but for clearer, more easily debatable reasons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 3:45pm
Originally posted by Hairball!!! Hairball!!! wrote:

Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:


JVC has/had a patent on VHS format videotape. Did that in any way hurt the market? Of course not.



Technically, it did. It forced BetaMax, a surperior product, out of production

Nope.  Betamax didn't die because of any patent (except arguably the Betamax patent).  Betamax did not infringe on the VHS patent.  They were competing formats, not infringing formats.  Betamax died because people preferred VHS.  VHS won because VHS ran a better business campaign.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DracoPlasm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 3:03pm
Obviously everyone here thinks business is about making friends with your competitors and its obvious im not gonna change anyones mind so i am done giving my opinion here hope you children have fun arguing over this like anything you say is gonna make a diference or change anything

Have fun

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hairball!!! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 2:58pm
Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:


JVC has/had a patent on VHS format videotape. Did that in any way hurt the market? Of course not.



Technically, it did. It forced BetaMax, a surperior product, out of production
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rico's Revenge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 12:30pm

Draco, there have been many viable arguements made throughout this thread, unfortunately, none by you.  

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and read the long posts by Clark, Senn and myself if you are going to attempt to contribute.  Read the Court findings that we are referring to. Take the time to educate yourself so that maybe someone besides your 10th grade classmates will listen to you.   You have absolutely no grasp at all on business tactics, economics or apperently life in general.  

If you continue down the road that you are insisting is the right one, have fun in your career of asking... "Do you want fries with that?"

< edited to tame down the flame ~ RR >



Edited by Rico's Revenge
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DracoPlasm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 11:50am
Originally posted by SeaWolf SeaWolf wrote:

Umm, I don't like Smart Parts because they make some of the best barrels for the sport... Oh wait, that's why I like them.


I don't like the the morale behavior behind their business practices. I do, however, see them as a powerful company with business insight. They're trying to maximize profit... isn't that the point of a corporation? Not everybody plays clean...

I don't hate the company. I love their barrels...

I just think that Impulses suck. Oh, and the Nerve is overpriced.


Exact point ive been trying to make all along their business tactics are dirty but thats business

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rico's Revenge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 11:18am

Here is some more relating to the Gardners' relationship with Dr. Hensel from the Opinion Document.   The end of page 16 and beginning of page 17.

"However, the evidence shows that Billy and Adam Gardner had almost no interactions with Dr. Hensel and Smart Parts admits that no one else at Smart Parts sent any information to Dr. Hensel. With respect to named inventors Gaston and Smith, as well as Cronin, there appears to have been much more communication."

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 11:04am

^^^^^   Hard to disagree with that - it makes good business sense to be nice (to some extent).

Now I am have to go dig out my sources for the relationship between the Gardners and Hensel...     :)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rico's Revenge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 10:52am

Nice Hway...

Honestly, I really could care less if Clark, Senn or anyone else on here does or does not boycott Smart Parts.   That is a personal decision that I leave to each person.   I don't care if you shoot a Shocker, Nerve, Impy or a Matrix... I'll still gog you if I have the chance 

I have, however, enjoyed a spirited debate with a few competent and intelligent people.  

I do not argue the fact that a Patent was issued.  However, there is some question as to the blanket nature of the patent which will limit the "inovative design" mentioned earlier.

To address the only point that Clark seemed to have contention with what I presented regarding the "close" relationship between the Gardners and Dr. Hensel, I will refer back to the Judge's Opinion on which Senn had supplied a link to.   I have inlcuded the entire sentence for context:

"Although I question the contributions of some of the named inventors, specifically Billy Gardner and Adam Gardner, I do not find that the evidence supports the conclusion that Dr. Hensel was the sole inventor of the ‘326 patent. I do find for the reasons stated, however, that WDP has established by clear and convincing evidence that Dr. Hensel was a joint inventor of the ‘326 patent."

There was no relationship between the Gardner's and Dr. Hensel.   Also the Judge has a question as to the Gardner's validity to being listed as "Co-Inventors."   Legally, that point is moot since even if their names are removed and Dr. Hensel's added, they still purchased Pneu Ventures' rights to the patent.   However, it does show the arrogant nature of the Garders.   I think this is the root of my dislike for the company...   Paintball has given them the opportunity to make ALOT of money (their family is actually fairly well off anyway, their father was a... ready for this?   Patent Attorney).   They took the money and gave nothing back.

I need to address the attitude shown by a couple people that business is completely cutthroat and that if you wish to succeed you have to be a scumbag.   I don't screw ANYBODY, I treat them fairly and if it works out great, if not, I don't try to back door them and burn a bridge.   Business is about relationships, you will catch more flies with honey kind of thing.   I am a manager for a national Marketing/Advertising Company.   Untilizing a fair, "nice" way of doing business, the net revenue in my plant has increase from $7.8M in 2000 to $12.1M YTD in 2004.   This is not to brag, this is to show that being true, honest and "nice" can work.   Whomever is teaching you the ruthlessness is the root of economic growth is wrong.   I only wish my compensation package had increase at that exponential rate...LOL!  

SP has burned alot of bridges with all of this.   There won't be anyone looking to help them out in the near future and in as small of a world as PB, my personal feeling is that it is a HUGE mistake.   Mark my words, someone within the next 12-months will find something to patent that will place SP on the other side of the fence.   There will be NO ONE rallying to support them when that happens.   Hey, what goes around, comes around.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SeaWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 10:00am
Umm, I don't like Smart Parts because they make some of the best barrels for the sport... Oh wait, that's why I like them.


I don't like the the morale behavior behind their business practices. I do, however, see them as a powerful company with business insight. They're trying to maximize profit... isn't that the point of a corporation? Not everybody plays clean...

I don't hate the company. I love their barrels...

I just think that Impulses suck. Oh, and the Nerve is overpriced.
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 9:09am

Can I summarize, Senn?

"Companies should not take actions that would injure a significant number of their competitors, or otherwise give them a significant advantage in the market."

Is that about right?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hwayhzrd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2004 at 6:38am

Originally posted by zombieman zombieman wrote:

why do you guys not like smart parts and if i get like no replies i will know why because you guys dont have an answer

Because they have abused the "open source" spirit of the sport/industry, are patentning things they did not invent and are now holding several other companies hostage with those patents, and have brought "big business" style dirty tricks to the sport I love.

They pummeled Indian Creek Designs into submission, caused the end of production of the AKA Viking, the AKA Excalibur, the AGD E-Mag, and the AGD X-Mag.

Thank God that WDP turned them back in court. Makes me want to buy an Angel.

Any other ridiculous questions?

No?

Good.

To the back ot the class with you.



Edited by hwayhzrd
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AdmiralSenn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2004 at 11:03pm
Okay, look. References to outside patents in other industries aren't going to apply here. The movie industry has, since long before VHS, been much more massive than paintball is. Tiny amounts of damage to a paintball company represent a huge percentage of damage done. So shutting down two companies, say Tippmann and Kingman, would do a lot of damage to the paintball industry. If Panasonic and JVC went out of business, yes it would do damage, but Sony and the other big companies would take up the slack pretty quickly. Different market situation. I never said you can invent too much, I said you can control too much. Having complete control over *your product* is fine; having complete control over electronic guns (a market, not a product) is a monopoly on electronic guns. People get sued and shut down for this. Remember that lawsuit against Microsoft a few years ago?

As to the Doc Nickel thing, no, I think this way because I learned that Tippmann invented the ASA. This was off of a site detailing old paintball inventions and their dates, it said something like "Tippmann invents ASA; thankfully they did not attempt a patent for it".

Judge's opinion

Verdict

And Smart Parts may not have technically broken the law, but did they perform unethical acts? I've said this before: Say issue X is definitively wrong (I usually say abortion, but that'll hijack the thread). Issue X is signed as being legal in the USA, despite clear absence of moral responsibility (just assume it's so, don't start on "but what if not everybody believes that way...". This is a hypothetical situation). Now committing X act is 'legal', but it's not 'right'.

I didn't know the application date was that early.. but again, just because they legally extended it does not make it right or fair.

Conclusion: Smart Parts does not own the patent on electronic guns. They at the very best are co-owners, and may lose all rights to the patent at final settlement.

Smart Parts' victory would have seriously hurt the paintball industry. Your example about JVC is fine, but how many quality, respected companies did they shut down for their patent (maybe they did do this, I honestly don't know). Even if they did shut some down, in the movie industry, a few companies is nothing.

In paintball industry applications, losing one out of ten companies is a 10% loss... the JVC example would be more like 10 companies out of 1000.. or a 1% loss.

Do you see what I'm saying? SP's actions, with the intent to completely ruin most of the other companies instead of at least saying something to them when they submitted their patent ("Hey, we're patenting electronic boards. You'll need to talk to our lawyer about this when the time comes."), have damaged the industry fairly badly. As tom/Hairball explained it (at least I think this is what he said), the X- and E- mag were for rec players, not tourney players. Now that they are no longer in production, the electronic-rec players can't buy them. This isn't a huge branch of the industry, but it's still enough to make an impact.

Had SP's patent been granted to them wuth full ownership, any new guns with new technology would have to be approved by SP, made by SP, and either way SP gets the inventor's money. This is generally considered the beginnings of a monopoly (on electronic guns, don't anyone start on thinking I mean the whole industry).

As I've stated before, particularly in a small market like paintball, monopoly is really, really bad.

Every single one of your precedents for this situation deal with very small sections of a market (types of components on a very small section of a huge market [cars], or a single format for releasing a massive industry [movies] to the public). You haven't provided convincing evidence (to me anyway) that other companies frequently dominate a portion of the market as large as electronic paintball guns (you could argue that electronics are half the market: mechanical, electrical. Therefore SP is trying to claim half the paintball gun market. Bad way of arguing it, but I think you see my point).

This is not about what's legal. Legally, I could insult the heck out of you, call you a liberal pansy communist with no moral values, no brains, poor debating skills, and a mullet (ooooohhh... burn!). Legally, I can do this according to my rights. I might get banned from here, but I wouldn't break any laws.

However, this is not right for me to do. You would, most likely, feel that I was in the wrong for unjustly attacking you when I don't even know you, and when my attacks on you aren't based on anything (example: I don't know if you have a mullet. I could make a theoretical argument for the rest of my points... but I won't.).

You see? In the same way, the LAW may say that SP is great, a role model for aspiring business owners, and never does any wrong. That point remains, most people agree it is wrong to needlessly shut down other companies with a tactic like delaying a patent for as long as they did (and yes, I know AGD did stop production voluntarily.. I also know that I have a personal email from Tom Kaye where he sounds pretty upset over the issue of patents.. dated July of this year. That's about when the X- and E-mags went out of production. Coincidence? Maybe. I doubt it.


To summarize:

SP's patent should not have been granted in the manner that it was. SP should probably not have applied in the first place. SP's actions against the other companies are too vicious and harsh for everyone to just agree that "it's their right". It's my right to make horrible remarks about your mother, too, right? Is it nice? Is it morally acceptable?

If you say (seriously) that it's perfectly fine for me to abuse my rights and insult whoever I want, I'll be the most shocked and saddened than I've been for a while.. and I'll have to start praying for you personally.




EDIT: I know how you love these massive real-time debates, but I'm going to sleep.



Edited by AdmiralSenn
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2004 at 10:01pm

Originally posted by AdmiralSenn AdmiralSenn wrote:


Yes, we agree that the patent was infringed on. The question is, should that patent exist?

Tricky question.  The Patent Office issued the patent, so at a minimum it passed the "not obviously invalid" test.

And "should" is loaded.  Do you mean legally?  Morally?  Economically?

Legally, it was issued - the only way we will know if that was a mistake is if somebody challenges it.  I have it on very good authority that there is no good reason to believe that a legal challenge to the patent would succeed.  Mostly likely, from a legal perspective, the patent should exist.

If you mean "should" in some other fashion, you will have to explain further.

Quote And you say a lot of "I think so" or "I believe so". Don't you ever do any research?

I do loads of research.  I am very well informed on this subject.  I use careful phrases like "think" or "believe" to indicate less than absolute certainly on some points.  I like to speak - and type - with great specificity and exactness.  There could, for instance, have been a second court ruling of which I am not aware.  I'm just anal that way.

Quote Again, have you read the responses that state pretty clearly that at least some sources say that the patent is null and void? That SP was not the inventor or co-inventor of anything, and WDP owned the actual rights to the idea?

A does not lead to B.  And A is false anyway.

The court ruling was pretty clear on this.  Dr. Hensel was at least co-inventor.  The court did NOT conclude that the Gardners were not also co-inventors.  The court DID describe a long and close relationship between Hensel and the Gardners.  Had Hensel signed the very standard assignment agreement, this lawsuit would have been a slam-dunk for SP.   Those agreements are standard fare for engineers everywhere - it was highly unusual that Hensel hadn't signed his.  I personally believe this was just an oversight and crappy lawyering.  I could be wrong.

WDP cleverly bought Dr. Hensel's rights to the patent, before anybody even knew for sure that Hensel had any rights at all.  As a result, as of the last I know, WDP owns at least part of the SP patent, but I do not believe that the court has subsequently ruled that SP is not also part owner.  It is very unlikely that the court will award sole ownership to WDP.  Possible, but unlikely on the facts.

But regardless - none of this renders the patent invalid.  Once the inventor/assignee designations have been corrected, the patent lives on.  The patent is nowhere near "null and void".

Quote And does anyone else think it's stupid to wait until NOW to suddenly take out a patent on electronic guns, when they've been out for a long time? That sounds fishy to me.

I can't help you with the stupid, but SP made the patent application long ago, back when the original Shocker came out and nobody else had electro guns out there (WDP aside the for moment - slightly different issue).  The application has been hanging out in the Patent Office waiting for approval since then.  All the early Shockers (I suspect) had "patent pending" stamped all over them, giving plenty of notice to the world that they were about to infringe on somebody's future patent.

Now, it is interesting that it took so long to issue the patent - one might normally expect a simple patent like this to issue in a year or so.  Part of the reason for this is because SP's lawyers extended the timeline on purpose.  This is an aggressive - but legal, and fairly common - maneuver used when you have early infringement going on.  You let the infringers develop variations on your invention, and then include those variations in your patent.  This is what SP did.  This does not make the infringing any less infringing, or any less illegal.

This is arguably the most morally questionable act that SP did, IMO.  Some view this practice as a little dishonest.  That is up for discussion, but it is clear that SP did nothing illegal, or even particularly unusual, in the pursuit of their patent.

Quote If they had patented this stuff earlier, I would support wholeheartedly the idea that SP is just trying to survive in business and turn a profit and all that. But to wait for several years and suddenly introduce a patent, then shut down a bunch of other people's products?

As noted above, SP did in fact file the patent right away.  They just tarried in the final execution.  But people were on notice the whole time.  Infringers beware.

Bottom line:  SP has a valid patent (even though they now have to share with WDP).  The application was legal, the grant was legal.  It is quite apparent that ICD, AKA, and others were infringing on the patent.  SP took action to stop the infringement.  The end.

While SP certainly has shown aggressiveness, they have, TMK, done absolutely nothing illegal.  Heck, I could even make them out to be the victims here - if Hensel had signed the agreement like he was supposed to, SP would still have sole ownerhip of the patent.  I might look into suing their old lawyers...    :)

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clark Kent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2004 at 9:30pm
Originally posted by AdmiralSenn AdmiralSenn wrote:



I'm guessing your second use of "ludicrous" refers to me. In which case you have a terrible memory and must have failed reading and comprehension on all your tests.

I said that it's bad for one company to own massive chunks of an industry. That part of my post never refers to the quality of parts of any manufacturer, simply that monopoly is bad. Case in point: Microsoft.

This I what I was referring to:

Originally posted by Clark Kent Clark Kent wrote:

If I can summarize:  It is ok to patent (and enforce said patent) small portions of a market, but not ok to patent large portions of a market.

Is that your point?

Originally posted by Senn Senn wrote:

Pretty much. Large portions tends to end up as "monopoly" and will get the patent issuer in deep trouble.

In particular, the idea in my quote, which you agreed to, is ludicrous.  Very ludicrous.

As to your theories about monopolies - you are wrong.

JVC has/had a patent on VHS format videotape.  Did that in any way hurt the market?  Of course not.

(BTW, the "patent issuer" is the US Patent Office - they don't get "in trouble".  I presume you mean the applicant/inventor/assignee of the patent)

There is no law against holding a patent that gives you complete control over everything.  If you invented it, you are entitled to a patent for it.  The idea that you can invent "too much" is ludicrous.

Some guy invented the intermittent windshield wiper, and spent the next 20 years suing car manufacturers for royalties.  Did that "ruin" windshield wipers?  I think not.  Was that wrong or illegal?  Certainly not.  He invented it; he got paid.  The fact that his invention completely dominated the market was and is completely irrelevant.

Quote And your "facts", so far, are mainly to say "No, that's not what happened". You've simply disagreed with people who have quite obviously read the history on what's happened.

I have provided facts.  My second post is the facts.  Apparently nobody read that post, since people continued to proceed as if neither I (or Rico) had provided a fair amount of specifics on what had transpired.

Quote And you're right, the idea of SP having a monopoly on the paintball industry is ludicrous. Fortunately for me, that is nothing like what I said.

That was in response to somebody else.  I never implied that you said this.

Quote ...your comment about my "reading too much Doc Nickel" stuff, when I don't read it. I read the Whiteboard comic once in a while, but my opinions... are my opinions. 

Your point about Tippmann and the ASA was almost verbatim from an article written by Doc that has been circulating on board for a while.  If you did not get your point from that article, I apologize, but I still strongly suspect that you then got that point from somebody who got it from Doc.  It is just too similar.  I could be wrong.



Edited by Clark Kent
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