Well no surprise here, SawStop who seems to get more press coverage for involvement in lawsuits than their actual saws is now filing another lawsuit, this time with Bosch over their REAXX Table saw GTS1041A ($1499). Timing falls just days before the largest national Woodworking Shows AWFS, July 22nd-25th where both companies will most likely be displaying their latest products to dealers and professionals alike.
Having personally seen both saws in action you can tell there are some very big design differentiations between how these saws achieve higher levels of safety. One is mechanical that jams a block into the blade to stop it. The other uses air bag technology to clamp the blade (actually saving the blade). Both saws do move the saw blade out of the way and utilize flesh detecting technology. Looks like the International Trade Commission (ITC) will be making that call.
Only a short time ago Sawstop’s filed a lawsuit grounded in fighting to put into law a requirement for all table saws to have built in safety functionality that would limit dismemberment. It would make sense if laws are potentially going to be in place requiring all table saws to have this sort of safety feature anyone who manufactures such a product would get to work on developing product to comply with new such laws.
That’s why it’s a bit shocking to see the originator of the lawsuit fighting to put tougher requirements in for safer saws do a complete 180 when someone else joins their cause with another technology to help push for better saw safety. The Bosch Reaxx Saw should only help move down the road to make more table saws and work places inherently safer (what they were fighting for in the first place) but now they are on the other side fighting to limit new safer saws in the market place.
If SawStop’s goal is to really make working conditions safer, fighting the good fight for the average worker you’d think they would want to work in conjunction with Bosch and together push tougher requirements through OSHA, MSHA and other safety organizations for table saw safety. This new lawsuit seems to be at odds with the goal of their own original lawsuit to get safer saws into more work places.
A couple of questions our readers would love answered: Is SawStop’s goal still for more regulations on all table saws and safer working conditions? Is the expectation from these various lawsuits to change the laws so only SawStop is allowed to manufacture and sell table saws? Is it cheaper to file lawsuits to get press coverage than spend on marketing a product?
We really like the SawStop product as well as the Bosch REAXX saw and are big supporters for more safety options in all tools. Options being the key word there, as in most cases these options require a higher investment upfront which we don’t think should be a requirement or limitations on a range of products consumers can buy but we certainly don’t make the laws.
For more thought on this lawsuit check out the in-depth look in this Tools of The Trade article, also read the full SawStop press release below.
Tualatin, OR — SawStop, LLC, the world leader in table saw safety, today announced that it has filed complaints at the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Oregon against Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany and its subsidiary Robert Bosch Tool Corporation to stop infringement of SawStop’s patented inventions.
After years of denying the need for active injury mitigation technology on table saws, Bosch has announced that it intends to release a table saw that incorporates numerous inventions developed and patented by SawStop. As part of the lawsuit, SawStop is asking the ITC to exclude Bosch’s infringing table saws from entry into the United States, and to order Bosch to stop advertising and selling infringing products in the United States.
“SawStop has invested millions of dollars developing inventions to protect woodworkers from serious injury,” said Dr. Stephen Gass, SawStop’s President, “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,” said Dr. Gass. “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.”