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Clark Kent View Drop Down
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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 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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AdmiralSenn View Drop Down
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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?
Is God real? You'll find out when you die.

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AdmiralSenn View Drop Down
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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 9:35pm
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.
Is God real? You'll find out when you die.

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