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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much do you think patent restrictions negatively effect frame design? I see a lot of bike with frame designs that are almost exactly the same except for small details like connecting points, link arm length, pivot location. Can these small details really make such big differences in performance or are the designers just trying to get around another guys patent?

I know Giants designs have been effected by patent issues big time, what about other bike companies?
 

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In theory patent restrictions ought to improve frame design. Since you cannot copy someone elses design you are forced to come up with your own, equal or better design. But in reality the bike industry is a copy cat industry, if something works then everyone wants to copy it. Without patent restrictions I don't think you would see any more innovation though, everyone would just be running horst links and dw-links on their bikes since they wouldn't have to pay to use the design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What I'm wondering is it innovation or is it copying with just enough modification to get around the patent? Many designs are so close that link shape or attachment point and triangle shape seemed to be the only differance.
 

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A well written patent protects against others using the same design just by using different "link shape or attachment point and triangle shape." A patent covers the entire design concept itself, not just the exact design of the manufacturers bike. This is why no one can use the horst link in any configuration whatsoever unless they license it from Specialized. The reason you see so many similar frames is because so many companies have had to use the faux bar design in order to not infringe on Specialized patent. I would assume that no one holds a patent on the "faux bar" or that if there was one it is now expired. Although many of those companies used to use the horst link until Specialized threatened legal action, at which point they started to claim that the "faux bar" was supeior to the horst link. Its funny how it only became superior once they were threatened with legal action.
 
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