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Weight Weenie Shop Owner
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Specialized, Scott Settle Suspension Dispute

DECEMBER 05, 2005 --



MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—Scott USA dropped its challenge of Specialized’s suspension patents and agreed not to sell its four-bar linkage Genius full-suspension bicycle design in the United States.

“After being forced to defend our FSR patent for more than 18 months, we can once again focus strictly on what we do best—making great bikes and equipment,” said Mike Sinyard, Specialized’s founder and president.

Scott USA originally pursued a licensing deal with Specialized, similar to the deal Specialized has with other manufacturers. However, Specialized declined to negotiate a license with Scott.

“We were kind of left with no option at that point. The Genius is a great bike which we wanted to sell here. So we decided to challenge the patents. However, after 18 months of battling it out in court the judge said the case was too close to call. The next step was going to trial,” said Scott Montgomery, Scott USA’s vice president of the bicycle division.

“Our dealers have pre-ordered so many Ransoms that it didn’t make sense to continue to spend money on the suit. We have other great designs in development, so it’s time to settle with Specialized and move on,” Montgomery added. The Ransom is Scott’s 2006 high-end full-suspension model.

Neither company is commenting on how much the court battle cost, but 18 months of lawyer fees add up. Now both companies are looking to funnel more money to R&D rather than to fancy lawyers in silk suits.</paragraph_body> </paragraph_body>
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Seems to me that with one little patent in the way it's hard to come up with new designs that work well that Specialized themselves would never come up with.
 

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isn't that the point of patents? to protect some idea you came up with (or bought from horst leitner in this case)?

Don't get me wrong I think Specialized is pretty lame the way they don't license the technology and simply don't let some other players like Scott use the horst link, but its a fairly simple straightforward patent for the pivot in front of the rear axle in bike suspension. And technically they have the right to license, or let whoever they want use it.

Yes Specialized might be a bit strongarmed in their tactics around the FSR patent, but they do have the right too since they own the patent, and it kinda looks like Scott knows they weren't going to win that battle. The whole situation stinks though
 

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offtopic, redundant (you've said it a million times), and opinion not backed up with any reasons.

Bravo, way to add something to the discussion
 

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ok bh, rise up off your

knees in front of mike synard(sp). here is just 1 of many examples. in order for
a dealer to sell an s-works bike, they actually have to be an s-works dealer, and
by being an s-works dealer they have to commit to a boat load of that cheap
in house crap they come up with. oh is that rich. so if i want an s-works(which
I don't) i cant just go into any specialized dealer. also, if you cant just look at
their in house stuff and tell how crappy it is then you don't have an eye for
quality. hold their mtb shoe in 1 hand, and a sidi in the other. if you see no difference
then you are a lost cause and i will go on no more about how crappy their
stuff is.
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Sure that's how patents work. I think by now the patent organisations (I used to work for one) understand that they gave Horst too general a patent. 4 bars and it's an infringement. They almost had given Horst one for putting suspension in any way on any 2-wheeled vehicle.
 

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Homer's problem child
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Patents Stop Innovation

Yes, in theory some patents protect the inventor from getting robbed by the big guys.

But the reality today is that the lawyers have become very good at writing very vague patents. These vague patents are so broad that if someone comes up with anything remotely close it can not be done without infringing, even if it is in reality very different. And the $$ it would take to go to court and reverse or force the patent holder to budge on their vague patent is prohibitive. Sometimes there are things worth fighting over and people do go to court and some patents have been reversed, but you really gotta want it bad, the only ones that get rich are the lawyers.

US Patent law needs an overhaul big time. Too many patent applications, too few examiners, too many incentives to push patents through the system without proper investigation, too many lawyers out to write vague patents.

If you have a really good idea, forget about the patent, put it in a black box and mark it as "trade secret", seal it, before delivering the black box to the customer, make them sign legal papers saying if they open the sealed box they are screwed, if the black box breaks only you can open it to service it, sell the customer a really cheap service fee and charge them an arm and a leg for the black box ;) .

This is the only way to truely protect great ideas in this day and age of clever lawyers and legal loopholes.

B
 

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its ironic that the person who invented the horst link now has to pay to use it...this is all according to the latest issue of bike magazine.
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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Horst doesn't make bikes anymore though so why should that matter?
 

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peabody said:
...in order for a dealer to sell an s-works bike, they actually have to be an s-works dealer, and by being an s-works dealer they have to commit to a boat load of that cheap in house crap ....
Off topic, but just to clarify; in order to be an S-works dealer, a shop does not have to commit to selling the in house s-works stuff, but rather they have to commit to selling a number of S-works bikes. Actually a non-S-works dealership can sell the in house S-works parts (tires, etc) just not the bikes. Well, at least that how it works in theory, but there are ways around it. I bought my S-works from a non-S-works dealership.
 

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Mr. Scary said:
In other words, Scott was infringing and resolved that their best alternative was to redesign their suspension system.
Actually, Specialized refused to even license the idea to Scott like they have to so many other manufacturers. That implies that it was so much better than Speccy's own designs to the point it would have dominated in sales if they were both competing in the same market.
 

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tl1 said:
Actually, Specialized refused to even license the idea to Scott like they have to so many other manufacturers. That implies that it was so much better than Speccy's own designs to the point it would have dominated in sales if they were both competing in the same market.
It does? Is it not possible that Scott thought Specialized wanted too much $$ for the license? Or perhaps Scott felt the design was different enough that they shouldn't have to pay for the license.
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Nicolai for some models pays like a €10 license fee for the Horst patent. Customers pay for it on the invoice.
 

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tl1 said:
Actually, Specialized refused to even license the idea to Scott like they have to so many other manufacturers. That implies that it was so much better than Speccy's own designs to the point it would have dominated in sales if they were both competing in the same market.
Thats a mighty big assumption there. Scott has done well but not "dominated" in overseas sales, so I am not sure why they would here either. Specialized has the rights to the design and they can license it to who they want. Thats a business decision and that's what copyright laws are for. Scott needs to design their own or make it worthwhile to Specialized to license it to them. Its not like Specialized has a Microsoft like monopoly on the industry. We don't know exactly what took place here between the two. Specialized did not grow to their size by being stupid (although I find myself questioning that in the last couple years).

The Genius looks like an interesting bike but the rear shock is proprietory and has been getting good reviews for function but poor reviews for reliability on this forum and in MBR magazine. If they get that straightened out, it could be a nice bike, and I would like to see it sold here.
 

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No. Just No.
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Perhaps this is all getting too logic-oriented? Perhaps Sinyard simply doesn't like Montgomery from their days in competition with C-Dale?
 

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Bortis Yelltzen said:
Yes, in theory some patents protect the inventor from getting robbed by the big guys.

But the reality today is that the lawyers have become very good at writing very vague patents. These vague patents are so broad that if someone comes up with anything remotely close it can not be done without infringing, even if it is in reality very different. And the $$ it would take to go to court and reverse or force the patent holder to budge on their vague patent is prohibitive. Sometimes there are things worth fighting over and people do go to court and some patents have been reversed, but you really gotta want it bad, the only ones that get rich are the lawyers.
Which is exactly what happened in this case. I imagine Scott thought they had a reasonable case since the original patent is highly flawed due to being so vague (which is how it encompasses original designs like Scott's) that it also encompasses plenty of prior art, which should have disqualified it. It's notable that despite it being normal practice to patent fundamental engineering designs in multiple coutries, it's only in the US where such a patent has been allowed. Unfortunately Specialized have clever and expensive enough lawyers to manage to stop a case even by somebody as big as Scott.
 

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What a load of crap!

peabody said:
knees in front of mike synard(sp). here is just 1 of many examples. in order for
a dealer to sell an s-works bike, they actually have to be an s-works dealer, and
by being an s-works dealer they have to commit to a boat load of that cheap
in house crap they come up with. oh is that rich. so if i want an s-works(which
I don't) i cant just go into any specialized dealer. also, if you cant just look at
their in house stuff and tell how crappy it is then you don't have an eye for
quality. hold their mtb shoe in 1 hand, and a sidi in the other. if you see no difference
then you are a lost cause and i will go on no more about how crappy their
stuff is.
Maybe where you come from Specialized have some crazy exclusivity deal, but I find it hard to believe that it would take the form which you describe above. I agree that most Specialized P&A is pretty average, just rebranded crap (except shoes and helmets), but hey, you get what you pay for. All their crap stuff is pretty cheap.

Our store sells lots of Specialized stuff, including S-works, and we have no such deal. We can stock and sell any other brands we want (including bikes), and still have full access to everything Specialized does. Maybe the stores which don't have this deal are making pathetic excuses for not having stuff, or don't have the balls to stand up and say "hey, I want to sell your bikes, but it's my shop, I'll dictate the terms".

Your obsession with bashing Secialized seems based more on emotion rather than fact. Going on about patent deals being unfair is like telling the Beatles that anyone can sing their songs as long as they pay, or that Jim Beam should be made to let anyone reproduce their burbon as long as royalties are paid. It doesn't work like that.

Just because Specialized, and numerous other companies for that matter, defend their patents, and try to get dealers to lock into various trading terms and conditions doesn't make them evil or something to be despised - that's just business in the 21st century capitalist economic environment.

At the end of the day, if you don't like what they do, don't buy their bikes, and head to one of the countless number of independent frame/bike makers who are quite capable of producing an equal or better quality bike without the moral objections you seem to have towards Specialized.

PS, I don't hear anyone bashing the VPP patent owners, or the Maestro patent owners, or the I-Drive Patent owners, and so on, and so on.
 
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