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  1. #1
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    DW-Link vs. Giant in Patent Infringement

    Interesting, I have not seen this posted yet:

    dw-link Incorporated v. Giant Bicycle Inc et. al. patent lawsuit


    Recall, DW has a separate lawsuit against Trek over the claimed patent infringement of their ABP. Not sure where that stands now.

    Weagle sues Trek over suspension patent | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
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  2. #2
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    It appears Giant USA just soft-peddled DWlink corp

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    Maybe Polaris and Arctic Cat should sue Mr. Weagle. He straight up copied their snowmobile and atv front suspension designs from the '80s and '90s, along with pretty much every other A-arm suspension ever made. Even Specialized might have grounds to sue based on a pivot location in between the main pivot and rear axle.
    Last edited by mountainbiker24; 05-04-2013 at 11:39 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Maybe Polaris and Arctic Cat should sue Mr. Weagle. He straight up copied their snowmobile and atv front suspension designs from the '80s and '90s, along with pretty much every other A-arm suspension ever made. Even Specialized might have grounds to sue based on a pivot location in between the main pivot and rear axle.
    Snowmobile? Last time I checked my DW-Link bike still has wheels

    A-Arm suspension has zero relation to trailing multi-link suspension, other than both are physical applications of suspension. A Lefty fork has a spindle for an axle, but no linkage, so the Lefty fork would be the closest relation in bicycle suspension design to a-arm suspension, both use a spindle axle to mount the wheel.

    Specialized holds the Horst-link patent (only in the US, the largest market for full suspension bikes) protecting the location of the chain-stay rear pivot near and below the axle. DW-Link lowest rear pivot is well above the axle. Rocky Mountain's chain-stay rear pivot above axle patent could stretch to claim infringement by the dw-link, but the Rocky patent was filed a few years after dw-link.

    The dw-link patent specifically claims protection for having one of the link's pivot alignment crossing between the two pivots of the other link during travel. This is where Giant's patent application for the Maestro design a year after Weagle filed the dw-link patent has not been awarded a US patent, because the Maestro link alignment during travel obviously infringes the prior dw-link patent. Note that the many close copies now of dw-link mini-link do not have intersecting link alignment during travel, some come very close.

    There is a controversy whether both Trek and DW filed the same effective concentric axle pivot suspension design before one party was aware of the other design. Soon it will be up to the judgment of evidence presented in court whether anyone at Trek had been disclosed by DW this "split-pivot" design before Trek filed the same suspension leverage design, a design no one had ever applied to bicycle suspension suspension before. The concentric pivot design seems obvious, it sounds like Trek is arguing that the design is not patentable, but then why did they file a patent for this "obvious" concentric pivot design?

    Both these cases are modern day David (Weagle) vs. "Goliath" battles. If DW's designs are an indication, then David could be a very precise sling-shooter!
    Last edited by derby; 05-08-2013 at 08:04 PM. Reason: corrected spelling Weagle, respect Dave for bringing science to mtb suspension

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    Did you just say that a-arm and trailing arm suspension systems don't have linkages? It doesn't matter if it has wheels or not. It's still a parallel link suspension designed to maintain a particular instant center of rotation. You still have the frame, the parallel links attached to that, and than the fixed axle/ski/whatever connected to that. Very similar in design and function, other than the chain growth variable, which a snowmobile or a-arm suspension doesn't factor in.

    The Horst-link has parallel linkages as well, but the lower link is longer. I'm not an expert on patents, or the infringement upon them, but common sense says that things are working differently between a DW-link and Maestro bike. At least as differently as a DW-link and a-arm suspension system. Both systems ride very differently, and don't even look all that much alike in terms of pivots, links, and placements.

    Dave wasn't original in his designs. He just found a way around already existing patents by using previously thought of ideas. Smart, but not original in any way.

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    This is why Lawyers are loaded.

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    Giant has more money for lawyers than _dw, so they win.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

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    [QUOTE=
    Dave wasn't original in his designs. He just found a way around already existing patents by using previously thought of ideas. Smart, but not original in any way.[/QUOTE]

    WHich existing patents/ideas are you referring to ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz View Post
    WHich existing patents/ideas are you referring to ?
    Read the other posts. It's pretty obvious which designs I'm referring to. Not to mention the old Karpiel designs. I know there are key differences with all of these designs, but that's my point. Giant's Maestro is different from DW-links in key areas, as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    Specialized holds the Horst-link patent (only in the US, the largest market for full suspension bikes)...
    Didn't that patent expire last month?

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    Quote Originally Posted by literally View Post
    Didn't that patent expire last month?
    Sept 2014 (longer of 17 years from Grant (April '96) or 20 years from Filing (Sept '94)), but their were additional patents that may protect till 2017

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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz View Post
    WHich existing patents/ideas are you referring to ?
    Have a look at an Edge Bikes Blade from circa 2002-2003 and you will see a linkage design that looks very very similar to both Giants Maestro and a DW linkage. Name:  edgefr400-280-75.jpg
Views: 2255
Size:  6.2 KB Then tell me that Mr Weagle was entirely original in his design ideas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4life View Post
    It appears Giant USA just soft-peddled DWlink corp
    The DW link has always reminded me of the old Schwinn Rocket 88:

    DW-Link vs. Giant in Patent Infringement-copy.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiplague View Post
    Have a look at an Edge Bikes Blade from circa 2002-2003 and you will see a linkage design that looks very very similar to both Giants Maestro and a DW linkage. Name:  edgefr400-280-75.jpg
Views: 2255
Size:  6.2 KB Then tell me that Mr Weagle was entirely original in his design ideas.
    I know for a fact that the dw-link goes back at least as far as 2001, so the Edge blade came after.
    I'm not arguing that there are bikes that look similar, but the dw-link has a whole range of
    specifications that make it unique. You can say it's not original because another bike has
    parallel linkages. You woulod show yourself to be pretty clueless if you tried to assert that.

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    You would be pretty clueless if you can't see the resemblance between those designs. So DW used some fancy terms and some references to specific characteristics. That doesn't make it original. I'll give him credit for taking existing designs and fine-tuning them for mountain biking, but to call him an innovator or genius is a bit much. Maestro has a whole range of specifications that make it different from a DW-link. Does it infringe on a specific aspect of DW's patent? I don't know. I don't really care.

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    I'm of the opinion that pivot and linkage placement should not be patentable. To me it seems too basic, like patenting a door knob. We don't need this type of patent to drive innovation in the bike industry. All it does is stifle innovation, raise prices and make it harder for entrepreneurs to sell anything without getting sued.

    Ironically, David rather than Goliath is doing the suing here. Weagle has done some amazing things and is an all around awesome dude. But I don't think he or anyone else deserves a government granted monopoly on simple pivot and linkage placement. It is morally wrong and economically and technologically stifling.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz View Post
    I know for a fact that the dw-link goes back at least as far as 2001, so the Edge blade came after.
    I'm not arguing that there are bikes that look similar, but the dw-link has a whole range of
    specifications that make it unique. You can say it's not original because another bike has
    parallel linkages. You woulod show yourself to be pretty clueless if you tried to assert that.
    Heck look at what I posted a few post up, that was developed in the mid to late 90's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfiler View Post
    I'm of the opinion that pivot and linkage placement should not be patentable. To me it seems too basic, like patenting a door knob. We don't need this type of patent to drive innovation in the bike industry. All it does is stifle innovation, raise prices and make it harder for entrepreneurs to sell anything without getting sued.

    Ironically, David rather than Goliath is doing the suing here. Weagle has done some amazing things and is an all around awesome dude. But I don't think he or anyone else deserves a government granted monopoly on simple pivot and linkage placement. It is morally wrong and economically and technologically stifling.
    I disagree. Patents drive innovation and is the ONLY protection an entrepreneur has. It's not a simple pivot and linkage placement. These finer details have real impact on performance, including isolating petal bob. These are details that are not obvious and hence why they are patentable. If this wasn't the case (being able to patent such designs) you would see ZERO R&D and innovation. Why? R&D is very expensive. If you were to develop an innovative and break through design and had no protection, every company would copy it and the biggest of them all (whom would have the lowest costs) would win at the end of the day. You would be out of business with no way to recoup your investment. As a result, no company would have an R&D department. Taking a class in microeconomics is helpful as it delves into these principles in detail. I do agree these patents block entrepreneurs, those with no new ideas (innovation) whom want to enter a market space with little monetary investment and copy everyone else's work. These people/companies should be blocked for reasons above. *

    * For full disclosure I'm a R&D Engineer working in new product development so my view is biased. I'm not an authority on the topic, this is just my point of view.

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    What's the bet all these arguments never get put to a court: they hardly ever do.

    All you or I will hear, is in a year or 2 's time, that DW and Giant have settled out of court and both are bound by non disclosure agreements, and the payments or not are secret.

    It's posturing , giants greed is usurped only by weagles greed, so when he gets a good enough offer for holiday house on the beach , he'll take it, and giant will continue on.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    You would be pretty clueless if you can't see the resemblance between those designs.
    Nope, you are the clueless one. From the Azonic World Force, to Karpiel, to the Rocket 88 to VPP, there are different characteristics and design fundamentals that are different. You can't get past the fact that they all have 4 members, which was the original definition of 4-bar, before specialized marketing put out tons of adds in the 90s to change the definition to mean "axle not on the swingarm".

    Some of those old bikes had specific things they were trying to achieve, and some were just flinging crap and seeing what would stick to the wall.

    The DW link comes in with it's criteria of anti-squat. It achieved a very specific amount and at specific points in that travel. That is what was patented, not the look or anything else, just like the VPP patent was out there with a patented "S" axle path (although Santa Cruz actually abandoned it years ago and didn't tell anyone).

    It's like the difference between making a linkage fork and an anti-dive linkage fork.
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    Giant designed a horst link bike a few years back, except it wasn't a horst link bike, the linkage was arranged so that when you pedaled, it tried to extend (pull apart) the shock. When set up with no sag, this actually pedaled like a hardtail, while still taking the edge of bumps. Not as plush as a specialized FSR bike, by a longshot, but it made for a decent racing bike for a few years. The Giant NRS was a different design. I think specialized may have tried to go after them or eventually they came to an understanding about the above, but the point is this "looked" like any other horst link bike, but it didn't ride like one, and it was trying to achieve something very specific. This is what you can patent. It's new and unique.

    My Azonic Saber and Turner 6 pack looked very similar. So they rode the same? Nope.

    If DW patents something, like a bike that doesn't compress when you pedal (horst link designs are usually poor for this) with a specific criteria that has not been accomplished before, you bet he can patent that. It's not just about good pedaling (like the giant NRS), it's about just enough anti-squat to counter the squat caused by pedaling forces. No one had ever really looked at it from this angle before and tried to "tune out" the forces. It seems like none of the manufacturers ever really took a look this deep at the forces before, prototyping designs that "seemed pretty good" and then selling them, rather than logging data and looking at the forces and coming out with what was optimal. Since he came up with a unique idea and designed around that, I think it's completely valid.

    What would not be valid is some manufacturer that makes a parallel link bike that would just make up phony math or claims to support what it does. Some of them can be supported, and some can not, but I doubt they'll get far if there's nothing unique.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...just like the VPP patent was out there with a patented "S" axle path (although Santa Cruz actually abandoned it years ago and didn't tell anyone.
    They more or less told everyone - they just didn't go out of their way about it.

    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/company/joe0807.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post

    The DW link comes in with it's criteria of anti-squat. It achieved a very specific amount and at specific points in that travel. That is what was patented, not the look or anything else, just like the VPP patent was out there with a patented "S" axle path (although Santa Cruz actually abandoned it years ago and didn't tell anyone).

    It's like the difference between making a linkage fork and an anti-dive linkage fork.
    You don't necessarily patent thing but methods to do things. Here are the claims from the 2006 patent:
    What is claimed is:

    1. A driven wheel suspension comprising a driven wheel, a damper unit, an upper carrier manipulation link and a lower carrier manipulation link, wherein said upper carrier manipulation link and said lower carrier manipulation link are arranged so that force lines through pivots of each of said manipulation links intersect in an instant center, and wherein said instant center is positioned beyond outer limits of two pivots of the lower carrier manipulation link at zero percent suspension compression and in between said two pivots as the suspension is compressed towards a point of full compression.

    2. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein the suspension system is useful for a chain driven vehicle.

    3. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein the suspension system is useful for a belt driven vehicle.

    4. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein the suspension system is useful for a human powered vehicle.

    5. The suspension system of claim 1 wherein a damper unit is connected to the upper carrier manipulation link.

    6. The suspension system of claim 1 wherein a damper unit is connected to the lower carrier manipulation link.

    7. The suspension system of claim 1 wherein a damper unit is connected to a wheel carrier link.

    8. The suspension system of claim 1 wherein a damper unit is connected to the upper carrier link and lower carrier manipulation link.

    9. The suspension system of claim 1, wherein the damper unit is selected from the group consisting of a spring, a compression gas spring, a leaf spring, a coil spring, and a fluid.

    Again, it is mostly about "Instant center". To see if any design challenges the dw link, just do an instant center analysis. In retrospect, Tony Ellsworth was a revolutionary. With that said, it would be hard to have a bike that had the same basic linkage position that did not have the same "Instant center'. Nothing about Squat is claimed.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Nope, you are the clueless one. From the Azonic World Force, to Karpiel, to the Rocket 88 to VPP, there are different characteristics and design fundamentals that are different. You can't get past the fact that they all have 4 members, which was the original definition of 4-bar, before specialized marketing put out tons of adds in the 90s to change the definition to mean "axle not on the swingarm".

    Some of those old bikes had specific things they were trying to achieve, and some were just flinging crap and seeing what would stick to the wall.

    The DW link comes in with it's criteria of anti-squat. It achieved a very specific amount and at specific points in that travel. That is what was patented, not the look or anything else, just like the VPP patent was out there with a patented "S" axle path (although Santa Cruz actually abandoned it years ago and didn't tell anyone).

    It's like the difference between making a linkage fork and an anti-dive linkage fork.
    You didn't even read my posts, did you? I stated there are key similarities and differences between the different designs. I don't know what's actually patented, and I don't really care. The designs are not original. They took existing designs and modified them in a way to wiggle around existing patents and add one or two aspects that they could patent themselves. It's smart, but I think it's bullsh!t. Just like you.

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    'manipulation link'....ROTFLOL.....that should be the name!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    You don't necessarily patent thing but methods to do things. Here are the claims from the 2006 patent:
    What is claimed is:

    (vague nonsense)
    They forgot: Assumes the human's great, fat, body does not ever move relative to the manipulation links.
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    DW-Link vs. Giant in Patent Infringement

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrwhlr View Post
    They forgot: Assumes the human's great, fat, body does not ever move relative to the manipulation links.
    Actually they didn't. The claims of this patent have nothing to do with the location of the center of gravity, which is affected by the rider position. Percent anti-squat on the other hand will depend on COG position, IC and chain line. However, that's irrelevant to the argument of the '329 patent.

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    Weak climbers tend to sit still a lot......

    Quote Originally Posted by nybike1971 View Post
    Actually they didn't. The claims of this patent have nothing to do with the location of the center of gravity, which is affected by the rider position. Percent anti-squat on the other hand will depend on COG position, IC and chain line. However, that's irrelevant to the argument of the '329 patent.
    I knew that would flare up the snake oil tasters. Swish it around, look like you know the ingredients, pause for effect, then spit it out. He also forgot to draw arms on the little person in his free body diagram, and a handle bar, too.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

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    DW-Link vs. Giant in Patent Infringement

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrwhlr View Post
    I knew that would flare up the snake oil tasters. Swish it around, look like you know the ingredients, pause for effect, then spit it out. He also forgot to draw arms on the little person in his free body diagram, and a handle bar, too.
    It's cute how you use sarcasm as a defense mechanism whenever people call you on your act. Whatever floats your boat.

    I don't own a DW link bike but I have ridden several of them extensively and I appreciate clever engineering when I see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nybike1971 View Post
    It's cute how you use sarcasm as a defense mechanism whenever people call you on your act. Whatever floats your boat.

    I don't own a DW link bike but I have ridden several of them extensively and I appreciate clever engineering when I see it.
    I actually do own a dw linked bike, which I like a lot. For the most part, it does live up to the hype. And importantly, not all mini-link bikes ride the same - but I think that often has to do with shock set-up more than the actual bike.

    Personally, I am interested in the nuance of the actual patent. As someone who is often trying to get, and has gotten, patents for various things, I am interested to see how this was shepherded through.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    I don't know what's actually patented, and I don't really care.
    Then why did you post?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Then why did you post?
    If you read my posts, you would know. But since you're too lazy to read, I'll sum it up for you. I think it's ridiculous to be able to patent something that has essentially been in use for decades prior to its "inception". So there are one or two design characteristics that are unique. Congratulations. Thanks for jacking up prices and stifling the development of a good idea with lawsuits, greed, and ego. None of DW's ideas are original. He modified existing ideas. You're welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    If you read my posts, you would know. But since you're too lazy to read, I'll sum it up for you. I think it's ridiculous to be able to patent something that has essentially been in use for decades prior to its "inception". So there are one or two design characteristics that are unique. Congratulations. Thanks for jacking up prices and stifling the development of a good idea with lawsuits, greed, and ego. None of DW's ideas are original. He modified existing ideas. You're welcome.
    Actually, what you say ("None of DW's ideas are original. He modified existing ideas"), legally, is patentable. I don't get it. Do you not like patent law? Capitalism?

    I am still unclear how that patent was not challenged by pre-existing technology. ICT was out there and already patented (from the looks of it, a groundbreaking patent and idea) and so were mini-links.

    Can someone take those frames and do instant center analysis to see if they fall within the DW patent or not? Heck, they don't even have to be mini links, just links that correspond to what it says in the patent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post

    Can someone take those frames and do instant center analysis to see if they fall within the DW patent or not? Heck, they don't even have to be mini links, just links that correspond to what it says in the patent.
    What a waste of good riding time. Why would anyone do that instead of analyze all _dw link bikes to see if they actually do ? Could produce far better internet outrage.
    Last edited by Mrwhlr; 05-10-2013 at 08:19 AM. Reason: because I can
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    The DW link has always reminded me of the old Schwinn Rocket 88:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	this copy.jpg 
Views:	1661 
Size:	86.0 KB 
ID:	796713
    The anti-squat numbers for the old Schwinn were just posted on Linkage Design. Interestingly, the numbers are very much like what would get with modern mini-link bike...
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    Link this , link that, whatever, seems to me a single pivot with a platform is good enough for short travel a XC rig............but I could be missing out I suppose.

    Prior art is prior art , even if it was on a wheel barrel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maluco View Post
    That is a great example of how people without a clue make judgements. On one of the patents, the judge may have a point (based up enough differences in the leverage ratio curves to rule Trek did not infringe on this Split Pivot patent). However, on the second patent, the judge states that Trek did not infringe on the patents because the rear shocks Trek uses do not closely conform to the shocks Split Pivot describes in the patent. That is just stupid, although the shocks themselves may be slightly different, they are not a key component of the suspension system. Patents, in there most basic way, must "teach" someone to make or do something novel. In this case, the the shocks, I don't think, allow one to make a better suspension system. Keep in mind that Trek had their ABP system without their DCRV shock initially.

    With that said, it is clear that dw was first to patent and Trek is just playing games to not pay the man.
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    Carefully read all 3 patents, Vesp. Follow what you preach and make your judgement after that. You will notice that those patents are fairly specific. Summed up briefly:

    First DW patent specifies an instant force center pattern, with it being below and forward of the shock, located closer to the front wheel, moving lower and rearward as the susp compresses. It is not below the shock on the Trek.

    Trek patent shows floating shock design.

    Second DW patent specifies a leverage ratio curve, one with a positive slope in the first 33%, then a negative slop in the last 33% of the stroke. Trek's bikes have a negative slope throughout. Second patent shows a picture of a floating shock config (note this patent was filed after Trek's).

    They're not patents for a concentric pivot or a certain shock layout. They're for specific novel applications that happen to use those elements together. Orbea has a concentric pivot too, and they claim to be in the clear. Their new Rallon doesn't have that split pivot leverage curve, nor is the instant force center forward of the shock, nor does it use a floating shock design. You can't patent the concentric pivot, dual short links, or "Horst link" really... you'd need to patent all the various competitively viable applications that use them to really do that. Spec had 3 patents with the Horst Link, but Ellsworth had one too. VPP co-exists with all the other dual short link designs, like CVA. Nothing odd with Trek having a patent coexisting with Split Pivot. The judge analyzed at the patents, considered the accusation, analyzed all of the defendant's models that were supposedly in violation, and ruled accordingly. Maestro vs DW Link is another story.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Carefully read all 3 patents, Vesp. Follow what you preach and make your judgement after that. You will notice that those patents are fairly specific. Summed up briefly:

    First DW patent specifies an instant force center pattern, with it being below and forward of the shock, located closer to the front wheel, moving lower and rearward as the susp compresses. It is not below the shock on the Trek.

    Trek patent shows floating shock design.

    Second DW patent specifies a leverage ratio curve, one with a positive slope in the first 33%, then a negative slop in the last 33% of the stroke. Trek's bikes have a negative slope throughout. Second patent shows a picture of a floating shock config (note this patent was filed after Trek's).

    They're not patents for a concentric pivot or a certain shock layout. They're for specific novel applications that happen to use those elements together. Orbea has a concentric pivot too, and they claim to be in the clear. Their new Rallon doesn't have that split pivot leverage curve, nor is the instant force center forward of the shock, nor does it use a floating shock design. You can't patent the concentric pivot, dual short links, or "Horst link" really... you'd need to patent all the various competitively viable applications that use them to really do that. Spec had 3 patents with the Horst Link, but Ellsworth had one too. VPP co-exists with all the other dual short link designs, like CVA. Nothing odd with Trek having a patent coexisting with Split Pivot. The judge analyzed at the patents, considered the accusation, analyzed all of the defendant's models that were supposedly in violation, and ruled accordingly. Maestro vs DW Link is another story.
    So the utilization of the floating aspect of the shock is a key component that differentiates it from the split pivot. I actually forgot about that point completely and could see that as being a differentiator. From the blurb it looked like he was just talking about the shock so I may have jumped to conclusions.

    I am a little sensitive to this as I am fighting for several patents at the moment with a pretty stupid patent examiner and it is driving me crazy!
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  41. #41
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    That's how I understand it. Here's the important parts of the article and how my understanding relates to it:

    Quote Originally Posted by article
    Conley dismissed Trekís infringement of Split Pivotís patent 7,717,212, because the rear shocks Trek uses do not closely conform to the shocks Split Pivot describes in the patent.

    ^ RE: First DW split pivot patent, and Trek's patent with the floating shock specified.

    Quote Originally Posted by article
    Conley compared the leverage ratio curves of many Trek full-suspension designs to Split Pivotís claims concerning leverage ratio curves in its patent 8,002,301. Conley found enough difference in leverage ratio curves to rule Trek did not infringe on this Split Pivot patent.


    ^ RE: Second DW split pivot patent, with the specific leverage ratio curve.

    I think DW wasted money on the second patent, since he doesn't even use the leverage ratio curve he mentions. I suspect that patent's sole purpose was to affect Trek's designs, which included the older Rumblefish and Superfly 100/FS models. The Rumblefish is now discontinued and the Superfly 100/FS had its design altered. That second patent has a picture of Trek's floating design included, which wasn't included in DW's prior patent. DW's looking more and more like one of these...


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