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Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798


All I could think of.
But seriously, go dw!
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,995
23
Whistler
That's awesome. Given the insane degree to which companies blatantly infringe on each others' patents in this industry, knowing they can usually get away with it because hardly anybody has the money to front up for court cases, I'm pretty stoked to see this go to trial. I just hope that the outcome is decided quickly and cleanly, and we don't see years of appeals and whatnot where the little guy is strung along until he can no longer afford to argue his case.
 

b.utters

Monkey
Mar 30, 2011
135
0
After reading the facts section of that document; Giant are a bunch of ****wits and I hope DW sticks it to them.

How you can get away with not paying people what is owed blows my mind.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
2,261
163
Do we need to start a donation thread or do we have any awesome lawyer monkeys he can borrow?
 

dilzy

Monkey
Sep 7, 2008
567
1
Giants actions here are pretty despicable, but the idea of patenting an already existing suspension system (4 bar) because you moved the pivots about a bit to make some chain tension is ludicrous.

Mind you, I'd be rather insulted if Maestro was infringing on my patents, it's god awful to ride.
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
Giants actions here are pretty despicable, but the idea of patenting an already existing suspension system (4 bar) because you moved the pivots about a bit to make some chain tension is ludicrous.

Mind you, I'd be rather insulted if Maestro was infringing on my patents, it's god awful to ride.
This.
Im not fammiliar with the technicalities, so i might be wrong on this.
But the design most people know as a DW link is older then everyones grand ma.
Pivot locations are what would set the dw link of this case apart.
Im not sure if giant has infringed on those pivot locations but personally i think these cases are nothing more then apple sueing samsung for using a square shape for a smart phone...
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,995
23
Whistler
Giants actions here are pretty despicable, but the idea of patenting an already existing suspension system (4 bar) because you moved the pivots about a bit to make some chain tension is ludicrous.

Mind you, I'd be rather insulted if Maestro was infringing on my patents, it's god awful to ride.
Well if you're going to take that approach, you would have to also believe that about 99% of patents throughout the bike, automotive and motorcycle industries are completely frivolous. I think it's entirely valid to patent what DW-link has done, as it achieves a specific goal via a specific means, that nobody else had created before, which is exactly what innovation is. It's not just about "making some chain tension", it's about managing chain tension (among other things) precisely, in a simple and easy-to-package suspension system.
 

tingers

Chimp
Mar 15, 2009
78
14
4 bars were around way before DW. Giants design resembles my 99 Karpiel more than anything.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
You guys realize that patents are generally based off of specific goals and the way in which they are achieved, right? Pivot placement for a specific purpose is important. :rolleyes:
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,489
839
Seattle
The linkage design is probably over 50 years old. Weagle borrowed it as did other companies.
Excuse me if I think a patent on a pivot location is a bunch of horse ****.
Yes, 4 bar linkages have been around for a long time. No, DW did not invent them. But do you know what else? He's not patenting the four bar linkage. He's patenting a very specific implementation of one, that set out with a stated set of goals and achieved those via specific pivot placement. Your argument is like saying that it's bull**** for a software company to defend their IP because you wrote a program that kicks ass at playing Snake for a class in high school. You're grossly overstating the level of novelty required for a patent. Innovation doesn't often come in huge leaps and bounds, it's an incremental process, and those genuinely advancing the state of the art should be rewarded for it.
 

daisycutter

Turbo Monkey
Apr 8, 2006
1,513
38
New York City
Strange I remember Giant changed their pivot design because Santa Cruz said it resembled their VPP to closely. A Google search pulled up this"

MBA
GIANT'S MAESTRO REAR SUSPENSION--NOV 23
Posted Date: 11/23/2004

November 23, 2004
R. Cunningham


Giant USA went in search of a single rear suspension design to replace the three different types that it used last season. The goal was to find one suspension that could be configured to perform as well for a short-travel cross-country application as it could for a long-stroke gravity racer. After a series of sleepless nights on the computer and some real-world testing, Giant developed ?Maestro?--a dual-link setup similar to the Santa Cruz VPP. Reportedly, negotiations with Santa Cruz required Giant to reconfigure the linkage in the latter stages of Giant?s design and pre-production process. Remarkably, Giant rebounded en-force with a revised linkage that could meet or match the performance of the best players on the dirt.

MEET MAESTRO
Giant?s Maestro rear suspension does not have a conventional swingarm pivot. Instead, a triangulated swingarm rocks on a two levers in much the same way as the rear derailleur swings on its parallelogram. Giant configured the upper and lower linkage geometry so that the rear axle moves in a near-vertical path?not in an arc, like a conventional swingarm would. Giant claims that its Maestro linkage design, combined with a specially tuned stable-platform shock, accelerates without bobbing and stops without locking out the suspension.



The Maestro cross-country and big-hit frames use a very conservative diamond frame profile with a special cut-out in the bottom bracket area that doubles as a shock mount. The top tube is sharply sloped to maximize the frame?s stand-over clearance, and a reinforcement tube (ala, the Specialized Epic) insures that tall riders will not flex or snap off the seat mast. Giant?s mother factory in Taiwan developed the hydro-formed ?hockey stick? top and down tubes that many firms have copied this year, and the technology has been put to use on both models to reinforce the frames without generating the need for extensive gusseting. The end product of Giant?s design team has delivered a very refined-looking pair of trailbikes.


Giant will use Maestro for its entire 2005 suspension lineup. We were invited to check out three models: the four-inch-travel cross-country ?Trance,? The six inch travel big-hit ?Reign,? and the ?Faith? gravity racer. Giant?s camp was set in the verdant mountains behind Santa Barbara, California, where singletracks range from all-day epics to hair-of-the-dog shuttle runs. We were treated to a technical descent on the Reign and a cross-country jaunt on the Trance. Factory representatives from Giant, Fox Racing Shox and Manitou were on hand to answer questions and custom tune the suspension to suit our riding styles. The weather was cold, but the dirt was tacky and the riding was as good as it gets. Giant also brought some incomprehensibly lightweight carbon fiber road bikes for guests who did not feel like getting dirty.



The first lap was aboard the Trance, which delivered on Giant?s promise that it could be pedaled strongly without suffering from pedal bob or chain feedback. The initial climb was a rather steep set of switchbacks pocked with small rock gardens and recently dug rain gutters. The Trance felt somewhat light?not as energetic as a cross-country racing platform should be, but it pedaled better than most four-inch-travel trailbikes. Giant?s geometry made for easy steering and its low center of gravity made it feel very nimble over the rocks.

Pedal feedback (the feeling at the pedals caused by when the suspension tugs on the chain as it compresses) is not noticeable on the Trance?which is good. The suspension never feels completely locked out under acceleration, however and, although the bike lacks the ?ready when you are? feel that racers love at the pedals, the Trance accelerates with a healthy sense of efficiency.

Descending on the Trance was very pleasant. Its rear end is not completely active under braking, but it stays sufficiently uncoupled to take the edge off of bumps that would cause the older AC and NRS models to bounce and chatter. Overall the Trance has a well balanced feel throughout a wide range of speeds and technical situations.



RIDING THE REIGN
With well over six inches of wheel travel and a Manitou Nixon single-crown monster fork, Giant?s Reign leaves no doubt that it?s not your average trailbike. The Reign?s weight was not spoken of at the gathering, but it felt like it checked in at about 33 pounds wet. On the trail, the Reign was a serious kick in the pants to ride. Its long legged fork made lofting the front tire unnecessary unless the gap or boulder ahead questioned the rider?s mortality. The rear suspension was phenomenally good at sucking up sharp-edged bumps. So much that we went in search of them to see how great an impact was needed to level the rear suspension. Suffice it to say that Giant?s Big-drop Maestro will not shy from a bad landing or missed approach in the rough stuff.

As expected, the softer, longer-stroke Reign suspension does not pedal as firmly as the cross-country Trance, but it still puts in a good performance under power. Expect some give with each big push on the pedals, but enjoy the seamless ride you will receive if you stay seated and pedal relatively smoothly. The higher bottom bracket and more relaxed steering geometry of the Reign make it easier to climb steeper and more technical ascents than is possible aboard the lighter Trance?as long as the rider has the leg power to push six more pounds of iron up the hill. Overall, The Reign fits perfectly into the realm of a ?light freeriding? or a ski-area fun bike. Trail riders who live for the descents and don?t mind poking uphill in the granny gear will not find fault in this very capable machine.



SO, WHAT ABOUT THAT NEW GIANT SUSPENSION?
MBA did not expected Giant?s dual-link rear suspension to perform at such a high level. Short lever arms normally suffer from distinct rate changes as the suspension nears the extremes of its stroke. Giant?s design team has done a great job of masking this anomaly and delivering a competitive, sharp-performing and well-designed chassis. Maestro brings Giant back into the hunt at a time when many established names are beginning to flounder. Good work!
 
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tabletop84

Monkey
Nov 12, 2011
893
15
Well that's what happens if you can patent pivot locations. In the end nobody can do anything without violating someones 'intellectual property'.

I mean in the end china willl reproduce anything anyway...
 
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Routier07

Monkey
Mar 14, 2009
259
0
I hope DW has big pockets paying for a team of lawyers. You can bet a multi-million dollar company is gonna bury him in legal paperwork and manuevering.
You'd think if Giant was smart about it all, they would've just paid him the $$$ for the new G+ system, then everyone would've left happy.
 

dilzy

Monkey
Sep 7, 2008
567
1
Well if you're going to take that approach, you would have to also believe that about 99% of patents throughout the bike, automotive and motorcycle industries are completely frivolous. I think it's entirely valid to patent what DW-link has done, as it achieves a specific goal via a specific means, that nobody else had created before, which is exactly what innovation is. It's not just about "making some chain tension", it's about managing chain tension (among other things) precisely, in a simple and easy-to-package suspension system.
VPP also does the same thing (manage the chain tension over the course of the travel..poorly), but yet it doesn't infringe on the pivot locations (and rotational directions). DW's patent, which I read through a couple of years ago makes specific reference to the locations of suspension components and IC movement.

A goal based patent is such a complete load of bollucks, in that way, I could patent say a way to thin blood and somone comes along, uses a similar method but a completely different formula and suddenly they're infringing?

Fact is, using chain tension to counteract peddling forces (anti-squat) was around long before DW and there were calculations around long before him. He used an existing suspension layout, the only difference is he did the whole package better than other people at the time (apparently, I always hated the way DW link bikes rode).

TLDR, unless giant actually copied his pivot locations, imo it's a load of bull, but I'm not in charge of the case, so I guess we'll see.
 
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General Lee

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2003
2,867
0
The 802
Despite their obvious expertise in engineering, IP, patent law, and contracts, as well as their ability to pass summary judgment with a limited amount of factual information, it is highly unlikely that any member of th RM forum will be consulted as an expert witness in this case. Please do not be offended.
 
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Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798
VPP also does the same thing (manage the chain tension over the course of the travel..poorly)
That's the point.
Yes the general layout has existed, and yes anyone is free to use it - but the dw-link design patented a certain relationship (between AS curve, LR curve, axle path, IC, etc) that he spent time and money researching and developing.

It's easy to sit here in 2013 and claim how easy it is to engineer a bike that is strong, has good geometry, and a suspension design that allows it to accelerate well and maintain dynamic stability. Back in 2004 that bike did not exist, and judging by the standard and rate of progression at the time, it wasn't happening in a hurry.

In my opinion Dave's work for this incredibly niche sport of ours was revolutionary, and marked an upward spike in not only technical development, but in making that technology available to everyone. I'm definitely not just referring to a linkage design here, I'm talking about bringing modern geometry to the masses, cementing a suitable set of standards, and many other things that have helped mould what we take for granted today. From what I can see, he is seeking compensation for only a small portion of what he has given.

That was 9 years ago, 3 years before you even signed up to this forum, let alone made a substantial contribution to the industry (one that doesn't compensate nearly as well as alternatives). I think he deserves reasonable compensation for his work, because he not only brought about change, but did it in an industry and in a time period where no one else really was.

For what it's worth, I have a 2013 Reign sitting in my garage - I believe Giant make good bikes that work well and represent value for money. I don't however believe that they have been a huge contributor to innovation, and if it wasn't for others doing that work, they would not be of the same standard that they are today.
 

tacubaya

Monkey
Dec 19, 2009
701
60
Mexico City
I like the comment about violating the laws of physics.
Giant: "Dave, you haven't reached milestone 5, suspension needs to be 110% efficient."
DW: "Guys, that violates the laws of physics..."
Giant: "Screw you, Tony Ellsworth said it was possible. "
 

General Lee

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2003
2,867
0
The 802
That's the point.
Yes the general layout has existed, and yes anyone is free to use it - but the dw-link design patented a certain relationship (between AS curve, LR curve, axle path, IC, etc) that he spent time and money researching and developing.

It's easy to sit here in 2013 and claim how easy it is to engineer a bike that is strong, has good geometry, and a suspension design that allows it to accelerate well and maintain dynamic stability. Back in 2004 that bike did not exist, and judging by the standard and rate of progression at the time, it wasn't happening in a hurry.

In my opinion Dave's work for this incredibly niche sport of ours was revolutionary, and marked an upward spike in not only technical development, but in making that technology available to everyone. I'm definitely not just referring to a linkage design here, I'm talking about bringing modern geometry to the masses, cementing a suitable set of standards, and many other things that have helped mould what we take for granted today. From what I can see, he is seeking compensation for only a small portion of what he has given.

That was 9 years ago, 3 years before you even signed up to this forum, let alone made a substantial contribution to the industry (one that doesn't compensate nearly as well as alternatives). I think he deserves reasonable compensation for his work, because he not only brought about change, but did it in an industry and in a time period where no one else really was.

For what it's worth, I have a 2013 Reign sitting in my garage - I believe Giant make good bikes that work well and represent value for money. I don't however believe that they have been a huge contributor to innovation, and if it wasn't for others doing that work, they would not be of the same standard that they are today.

This^^. Another thing worth considering for those who don't like this idea of lawsuits and patents (though you would be shocked at th level to which this goes on behind the scenes in pretty much every industry) is that while 'copying' might seem in the consumers' best interest it actually is not. That you have more options is maybe preferable in the short term, it actually stifles innovation in the long term. So what you get is new colors, or bendy tube shapes, and maybe lighter weight but not necessarily a conceptually different or more innovative product.

Th patent process both protects the holder as well as encourages further innovation. This isn't to say the process is perfect, but focusing solely on the flaws misses th point.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,034
1,457
AK
Lots of people commenting that have been in the sport for probably all of about 5 years and have no Fing idea what they are talking about. The relationship of anti-squat and the forces was a first, as far as the specific pivot placement to achieve it. No, it's not VPP (which Santa Cruz later admitted they did not follow anyway), it's not a horst-link, it wasn't some early 2000's half a$$ed wild a$$ guess about forces, he did his homework and worked on an idea and executed it, only to have it stolen from under him.
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,995
23
Whistler
VPP also does the same thing (manage the chain tension over the course of the travel..poorly), but yet it doesn't infringe on the pivot locations (and rotational directions). DW's patent, which I read through a couple of years ago makes specific reference to the locations of suspension components and IC movement.

A goal based patent is such a complete load of bollucks, in that way, I could patent say a way to thin blood and somone comes along, uses a similar method but a completely different formula and suddenly they're infringing?

Fact is, using chain tension to counteract peddling forces (anti-squat) was around long before DW and there were calculations around long before him. He used an existing suspension layout, the only difference is he did the whole package better than other people at the time (apparently, I always hated the way DW link bikes rode).

TLDR, unless giant actually copied his pivot locations, imo it's a load of bull, but I'm not in charge of the case, so I guess we'll see.
In the context of what these patents are about (means of moving a CC around to create a certain acceleration response characteristic), VPP does more or less the opposite of DW-link actually. The way DW-link works is to have a widening radius of curvature in the first half of the travel (meaning the CC is moving predominantly forwards) to keep anti-squat within a reasonable range, but the crux of it is the mention of the IC moving to a point between the pivots of the lower link at a point later in the travel. This inherently instills a change in the direction of motion of the centre of curvature (CC), which then creates an inherent DECREASE in the rate of chain extension (note that the rate chain extension still usually remains positive). Basically, CC moves forwards initially (and slightly up, in the iterations I've looked at), then changes direction and moves backwards later in the travel. VPP has the CC moving backwards initially, and if you're going to look at it in a single dimension, it's somewhat like comparing a train going north to a train going south - one is clearly not behaving the same as the other.

The IC movement is IMO the single most important feature of the DW-link patent that Maestro bikes infringe upon. That isn't to say that they are tuned within the patent's envelope to generate the same results as the DW-link stuff (because the patents are only related to acceleration parameters, not things like leverage rate), but it does mean that they share the turning-point characteristic motion of the CC. This inherent trait of DW-link is important because it allows for and specifies the following:
1. Anti-squat to be managed with a sharp drop early in the travel, flattening out in the usable pedalling regions, and then dropping off later in the travel, with...
2. An associated decrease in chain extension/pedal kickback later in the travel, where it matters most.

Because of that, it is not ONLY a goal that is stated, it is a specific means to generate a specific result. Evidently the USPTO were sufficiently convinced that DW was the first person to implement these specific ideas within this packaging (not all that surprising, since bicycles with rear suspension haven't been around for very long, and motorbikes have no need for the anti-squat curves that DW-link inherently generates, since they don't bob and they don't care about pedal feedback). You CAN achieve the same results within other layouts (especially modified-chainline systems like i-Track), and those are fair game because they're outside the bounds of the patent. The patent isn't ONLY on the result, it's on the way that result is achieved, because of the many other parameters (packaging, simplicity, manufacturability etc) that also factor into the way a bike is designed. For example, having a bike with a link that's 4 feet long obviously isn't going to be packaged very easily.

Also, none of this means that you have to actually like the way that particular suspension layout rides.

The linkage design is probably over 50 years old. Weagle borrowed it as did other companies.
Excuse me if I think a patent on a pivot location is a bunch of horse ****.
Maybe you should read the patents and see the discussions and citations of prior art. "That linkage design" is a VERY SPECIFIC envelope for the implementation of a 4-bar design, for a specific purpose, using a specific means. It hadn't been done before, therefore patenting it is entirely valid IMO.



In all seriousness, anyone who thinks the patents are pointless or frivolous because it's "just moving pivots around", I encourage you to actually read them.
 

William42

fork ways
Jul 31, 2007
3,674
289
looks like the jury has already viewed and thoroughly examined the claims made by both parties. This doesn't even need to go to court!
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,034
1,457
AK
looks like the jury has already viewed and thoroughly examined the claims made by both parties. This doesn't even need to go to court!
I deal a lot with those kinds of reports. Trust me, a good lawyer can shoot anything full of holes. Examples: They'll probably throw everything and the kitchen sink into "we were negotiating with good faith and (insert person here) didn't work with us, rejected our offers, and then didn't even perform the work he said he would!". There's probably no real basis for this, but if they see any possibly of it being successful, they'll go for it unfortunately. I have to wonder if adding the part about breech of contract and "projected royalties" will help or hurt the case, even though I'm sure it's completely legit.