Koroyd Wins Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Burton Helmets With WaveCel

Nov 7, 2022 at 9:54
by Henry Quinney  
Smith Rover Helmet Review by Vernon Felton

A court in Germany has ruled in favor of Koroyd in a patent infringement claim against Burton for the use of WaveCel in Burton's Anon snow helmet range. Following a case spanning nearly a year and a half in the German courts, it was concluded that Burton violated EP 1 694 152 patent in Germany by producing and selling Anon helmets that use WaveCel.

Bontrager uses WaveCel technology in some of their cycling helmets, but they are not named in any of the lawsuits that Smith and Koroyd filed.

In July 2021 we reported on another lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, which accuses Burton of infringing US Patent No.10,736, 373. The US case is still ongoing. Burton has the right to appeal the German court's decision and has filed an action against the patent that has not yet been decided upon.

Koroyd is a familiar sight in Smith's mountain bike helmets. The open cell system differs from a more traditional helmet by using tubes and layers that crumple on impact, instead of deforming and crushing like polystyrene.

bigquotes“We are pleased to receive this positive judgment from the District Court of Düsseldorf which confirms that Burton is infringing one of our patents in Germany with their Anon helmets which use Wavecel material,” said John Lloyd, Founder and Managing Director of Koroyd. “The judge has approved a remedy of removal of Anon’s infringing helmets and stock from sale in Germany. Koroyd is also entitled to be awarded damages and legal fees and Koroyd will now begin enforcing the judgment. Alongside an extensive IP portfolio protecting our innovation, we also have a robust global enforcement policy which has now delivered a win for our R&D team and all of our trusted partners.Koroyd



149 Comments

  • 186 0
 Soon you will learn that evil will always triumph because good is dumb. -Dark Helmet
  • 13 5
 I don't care what the response counter says - comment of the year. Mel Brooks and Noapathy win the internet.
  • 2 0
 I get it
  • 14 3
 Watching midterms through fingers, fear Dark Helmet was prophetic.
  • 11 4
 Before the vasectomy I had to wear a dark helmet, now I am free.
  • 12 0
 I just wish someone made thru-helmet cable routing. That would look so sweet!
  • 4 2
 @trollhunter: extremely underrated comment
  • 1 1
 Comment of the generation.
(Although I don't necessarily agree applying it in this case)
  • 2 0
 @st-lupo:

And a fully internal chinstrap. No more pesky external straps that collect dust and can kill you in an instant when it snags a tree
  • 2 0
 Merchandising! Merchandising! -Yogurt Just a parody helmet.
  • 99 1
 My one helmet is suing my other helmet. Nice
  • 29 0
 I can't wait for round 2, when MIPS Sue themselves over whether original MIPS™ is better than MIPS Spherical™.
  • 11 0
 @ratedgg13: I just wish MIPS didn't squeak like a bag of mice.
  • 27 1
 Its not about the money, it's the principle. Just put yourself in someones shoes who have the idea and spent a bunch of time and money to develop it only to be copied ? You think you're just going to be cool with it? Don't think so.

Serves Trek/Bontrager right. basically who owns(copied) the Wavecell thing
  • 44 6
 I agree with you in general, but i think there are many things very wrong with the patent system as is in the modern world. The time a patent is valid is outrageously long considering modern product cycles and will just slow down innovation, or even prevent it for smaller businesses. A patent search itself is immensely costly. And then you have big companies that just patent a whole bunch of stuff they will never touch, just to block some competitors in a field, or to meet some random KPI for the investors. In my opinion there should be an obligation that you have to license any patent to anybody at a reasonable cost, and a patent should not be valid for longer than maybe 8 years, maybe longer in the medical field. In the end if you want to make the world a better place then you publish everything free for everyone to use. Especially in clean tech technologies and everything tangent.
  • 5 6
 @SleepingAwake: "In the end if you want to make the world a better place then you publish everything free for everyone to use."

This, and only this!!
  • 9 2
 @ka81: To develop something and get it certified takes time, effort and money. If something is being done with private money then it is up to them to decide who can use it and if so, what to pay. If it is done with public money, the technology should be public too. This goes for instance for the development of a vaccine for a certain virus. And you may or may not be aware that much of the stuff (software or arts primarily) you're using is open source, so made by enthusiasts who dedicate time and effort. Open source software like GNU Linux or the Open Source album of Kiko Loureiro. But that's "just" time and effort. Producing test samples, actual testing, certification and all that does cost actual money. Companies are generally less willing to invest that kind of money unless they can reap the exclusive rewards for a while.
  • 6 6
 @vinay: you didn't even get the point.. nice.
  • 5 2
 @ka81: I largely agreed with @SleepingAwake, just not with you (the "only this") part. I absolutely support the open source vision, support artists who publish their works as open source and have been using linux since 2001. But no one can afford to develop a technology (like helmet safety that takes testing and certification) and publish it all for free. They often need this competitive edge to fund their investment. Companies could choose to publish all they create for free (like you see in open source software, where they then make their money with paid support etc). But some technology just won't be developed.
  • 3 1
 companies have development budgets they come out of company profits and are tax deductable companies wether they are large or small need to make a profit to survive be that a one man op to pay his wages or HUGE corps making a return to shareholders, there are few companies do things for the love, that's called a hobby and lots of bicycle people fall into this catagory
  • 2 1
 You didn't read the article.
  • 1 2
 thats LITERALLY the social structure of mountain bikers LMAO, no one can think for themselves and when they do everyoneELSE pedals it like its theirs
  • 6 4
 @ka81: yup. Communism is working really well.

I am happy there are idealists out there. But in the real world I need to get paid because I have bills.
  • 1 0
 @SleepingAwake: a shortened validity period seems a good idea to me.
If you make a planning application to develop land in the UK there are certain time restrictions. You need to demonstrate that work has begun by a certain time and if not, it lapses after a few years. Not quite the same as a patent situation obviously, but it may help stop big companies from blocking the competition to an extent.
  • 2 1
 @tremeer023: Cutting the time of a patent will decrease r&d outcomes and budgets.
If Horst link went off patent 11 years earlier that would have reduced all the efforts other companies put into suspension platforms.
Reducing the return on investment, especially for luxury goods like MTBs will hurt innovation.
If there is a clear benefit to society then I can maybe see you point.
Also worth pointing out that all a patent gives you is an argument in court. Knock offs abound, you can't fight them all.
  • 1 1
 @fabwizard: i also gave bills, but nothing stops me ever from doing something for mankind wellness..
  • 4 2
 @ka81: Then you have a job to pay those bills.

Give up that job, volunteer all your time.

Go out and buy a MT. Bike. Oh wait you cant because you don't have money.
  • 2 1
 @SleepingAwake: which patent laws and for which countries? While there are a ton treaties that allow for enforcement between nations, they are very complex. Moreover, every nation interprets differently. Most companies, do, in fact, license their tech at a reasonable rate so I am not sure what problem you are actually trying to solve here. People and/or companies spend a lot of time and money to see their ideas to light. While sole weaponize their patents and sue with dubious claims, mist do not. In this case it was a clear violation of Koroyd and Scott’s IP. It is very easy to complain about something when one has no skin in the game. I can 100% guarantee that if YOU invented something, you’d very much enjoy the duration of you patent rights, would charge a licensing fee to your liking, and would appreciate and use the protection laws to their fullest to protect your IP.

Human beings aren’t exactly nice critters. You are coming from a place which assumes everyone is nice a good world wide (or even in Switzerland). They are not. While there are good people out there, there are a huge amount who are not. Patent laws are in the books to protect against people who have no problem stealing (and patent violations are theft).

Trek and Burton aren’t the bad guys here. It was the employees who thought copying Koroyd’d tech was a good idea and then a few of the company’s leaders who then thought defending it was also a good idea. You know, humans.
  • 2 1
 @SleepingAwake: Not sure that an "obligation that you have to license any patent to anybody at a reasonable cost" would benefit anybody. That's just going to mean more lawsuit as to what is a "reasonable cost" and, quite frankly, it defeats the purpose of having a patent. Sure, you'll make some royalties, but you do not get to profit from your invention if some big company just licenses it and sells it for dirt cheap. However, if you invent it and patent it, then you have a monopoly on that invention for a period of time and profit from all that R&D. Regardless, I do agree that there are companies out there with books of IP that never see the light of day simply to block competitors, and that does impacts innovation. I've always thought that a good idea would be to have a timeframe for a patent owner to market the patent or it expires. Once it expires, then it's considered open sourced.
  • 1 0
 @dcreek: Good points. I'm not an expert in this stuff but yeh, I can see we might not have so many suspension designs or other innovation if inventions were more easily shared/copied.

@ka81: Volvo effectively gave away the patent for the 3 point seatbelt a few decades ago. No other reason than to save more lives. This lawsuit on the other hand is over helmet design. Mips is obviously better ;-)
  • 1 2
 @fabwizard: c'mon, man, you can do better..
  • 2 0
 What I do think is that owning the exclusive right on a patent should come with the obligation to bring it to the market one way or another. Not sure whether there would be issues with this, but it sometimes bothers me to see how a patent is being bought, then shelved. Or when a company is being bought and the patents owned by the bought companies are no longer being used. Hayes bought the PeteSpeed (gearbox) patent when BeOne went out of business. I think it is a much cheaper solution (derailleur in a box) than the Effi and Pionion alternatives (with the sintered gears) and would love to see them bring the internal gearbox option to a lower pricepoint (and Hayes would be able to offer the complete OEM option to compete with SRAM) but it just never happened.

The horst-link example is an amusing one. Didn't Specialized only own the patent in the US or maybe North America? Loads of European brands (and probably also the Australian Craftworks) have been happily producing and selling horst-link bikes for decades. They just didn't sell them to North America. When the Specialized patent expired, they did start to sell them overseas and it was pretty amusing to read articles on Pinkbike about how (primarily) German brands started developing bikes around the platform even though they have been doing that for decades. Heck, Lacondeguy has been riding for YT well before the patent expired, he sure must have been noticed over there?
  • 1 0
 It is about the money and all the work and time inventing something takes. Then add patent filing costs.
  • 1 0
 @Bliss503: yeah quite possible I'm way too naive about the whole thing. It's just that my name is on a patent or two i wished they would better be in public domain.
  • 13 0
 Helmets will now revert to their high point in 2010 when they were as protective as today, didn’t pull your hair when you put them on and actually provided some air flow cough Wavecell and Koroyd
  • 3 0
 Bang on! I've got a brand new Kask helmet that does all this, and blows all safety standards away.
  • 1 1
 Never used a Koroyd, but have a Blaze (Blade/Laser) Wavecell, I find the airflow to be pretty good, not as good as my POC Octal, but better than my MIPS Bontrager Rally. Something, about Bernoulli.
  • 1 0
 The TLD MIPS design doesn't have any of those issues, at least for me. Can't speak to other helmets
  • 7 0
 Someone who is adept in law stuff wanna explain the impact to Burton being a US-based company and a ruling from a German court. I understand Burton will be unable to sell wave cell stuff in Germany anymore but does it have reaching impacts beyond that?
  • 86 1
 Not too many replies. If you said "inept" instead of "adept," you would've been bombarded.
  • 1 0
 Not really, as patent law applies individually in each country of patent, not internationally. The patent holder’s rights vary somewhat in each country with their individual patent law.
Any invention with market significance will be patented in most countries, that is, countries that are significant in protecting the patent…Smith may pursue the purported patent infringement in the US and other countries where it has patent as it sees fit, perhaps not Fiji or Tonga where sales and manufacturing are limited. Gets expensive to cover all.

www.justia.com/intellectual-property/patents/international-patent-protection
  • 1 0
 I am not involved in patent law and it has its own set of rules which may supersede general conflicts of law rules, but states with reciprocal enforcement of civil judgment agreements with Germany may see Smith attempting to enforce this judgment in those states.
  • 4 0
 Except the german court decision would apply accross the entire EU economic block of countries because of how patent cases are handled there.
  • 2 1
 @deeeight: apart from Britain as they are not in the Eu #brexit #killingit
  • 1 1
 @j-t-g: states?
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: haha fair play
  • 1 0
 Maybe set a legal precedent that will make it easier for Smith to pursue similar legal actions in other jurisdictions? I'm not a Lawyer...so this is more just my own curiosity speaking... Lawyers- Is that possible?
  • 10 2
 Volvo designed and patented the three point safety belt. They released the patent for free issue for the good of humanity. Be like Volvo.
  • 3 0
 We can’t all be Swedes
  • 3 0
 Burton have been shitting on the little guys for decades, nice to see someone bigger shitting on them. I remember working in a snowboard shop in the early 2000's and being told we had to drop Bern helmets if we wanted to stock Burton. Back then the 'beaker' was popular and Burton ripped it off unsuccessfully so they tried to bulls shops into only selling their shit to win sales. Since then I've never owned anything from Burton or their other companies.
  • 4 0
 6D is leaps and bounds more protection anyway
  • 2 1
 or Kali
  • 2 0
 @mypinkbikeself: facts
I spent a bunch of time researching and holding the new 6D trail helmet its pretty obvious that the pivot points and second inner shell are considerably more robust...ends up looking big but I'm a L anyway
  • 2 0
 The ratings do not agree with that statement.
www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html
  • 2 2
 German courts are pro-patent trolls, because of their silly bifurcation between the infringement (here) and the validity (if the accused company challenges the validity of the patent).

All patent trolls go to Dusseldorf because of that, knowing that they can get a quick injunction to stop the product, while the patent is found a year later invalid.

And that's what Germany is pushing at the EU level with the coming crappy Unified Patent Court (UPC), where they will have Nokia or Airbus as a part time judge.

The world is corrupt folks.
  • 1 2
 I dont see why there is an infringement here? they are different technologies from what i can tell. not only that but the koroyd helmets arent at the top of the virginia tech scoreboard either, so it doesnt even seem like the tech is worth mimicking (if that is even the case to begin with)
  • 9 11
 That awkward moment when two American companies fight it out in a foreign court, only to find they both spent way too much money on the legal fees since Mips equipped helmets are still more popular. Cant wait for the 2024 Burton Mips helmets. #lawyersgotpaid
  • 15 0
 MIPS deals with rotational forces with a slip plane. Koroyd and WaveCel are impact technology. Two very different things. My Smith forefront has Koroyd and MIPS, just like Bontrager helmets have WaveCel and MIPS.
  • 5 0
 @adamszymkowicz: A Bontrager helmet might feature WaveCel or MIPS, not both.
  • 34 0
 @coregrind: WaveCel is super safe because it is so heavy and hot you end your ride very quickly, limiting danger.
  • 1 0
 @aquanut: seriously! I tried one of their helmets and hated it.
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Thats not exactly accurate. Mips redirects impact forces using a slip plane. They test like all other helmet safety companies with direct impact assessments. here is more info mipsprotection.com/science-technology/mips-safety-system-functionality

Wavecell is a direct competitor with several articles over the past decade explaining why one is better than the other. Like this pinkbike gem: www.pinkbike.com/news/mips-says-wavecel-performance-falls-far-below-bontrager-claims.html

Im glad that Smith uses both, but that also wasn't true until the last few years. The reality is most people who ride bicycles and want a good helmet know about Mips, Having the mips stickers on Smith helmets justify their price and make them appealing, but in the end they serve the same function.
  • 1 0
 @coregrind: my mistake, I assumed they would do the same as Smith does with Koroyd.
  • 1 0
 Lawyers always win.
  • 2 0
 Phew.... I thought someone has sued Dan Aykroyd! GHOST BUSTERS!
  • 1 0
 But wavecell doesn’t turn your head into an inferno of no airflow like the straws do
  • 10 13
 I know the argument for patents. I just have never seen any evidence that patent law actually produces the positive outcomes that its defenders claim. Its a huge interference in the market, allowing for tens of billions of dollars to be made/lost, with huge centralization of industry, but no one can show me evidence of the benefits. Thats a huge amount of money to spend on something that isn't 100% crystal clear.
  • 21 4
 The benefit is people actually research and develop new technology. Without patent protection much less would be spent on r & d as there would never be a recovery of that investment. You could invent a new product and someone could literally 3d print it tomorrow.
  • 6 1
 Keep in mind that in the US the patent is only good for 20 years from the date the application was first filed (not awarded). To put it in perspective if you spent several years inventing something like this, then filed for a patent (which could take years to be awarded) you then have to sell it to other companies, figure out how to mass manufacture it and spend a boat load of money to get it up and running. You are probably looking at 10 years of work to get to that point, getting you 10 years of profit. Lets be real here too, if companies didnt own the rights the government would. There is no world where everyone works purely for the greater good, unfortunately it has to be incentivized.
  • 9 2
 @hamncheez It's almost like you don't value intellectual property. Weird.
  • 3 2
 @fabwizard: that's the argument for, yes, but where is the evidence?
  • 7 0
 @hamncheez: all around you in countless things that you own or use.

I've seen it firsthand with the significant money my employer puts into r&d in search of patentable innovations. They're motivated by the potential competitive advantage and their customers end up getting useful benefits, which eventually later can become common across the industry
  • 3 6
 Really ? Moderna spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars on mRNA technology development and got US patents for their particular approach and it paid off when a pandemic came along that left the company with the technology already developed to go to vaccine trials only SIXTY THREE DAYS after the virus genome was fully mapped out. And now with two years of injection data they can quickly re-formulate the vaccine for new virus variants and get approval for distribution very quickly. Their first bivalent formula for the original parent virus and the ommicron BA.1 variant was approved by the FDA back in June and the subsequent version for the original virus and Ommicron BA.4 & 5 on August 31st.

Pfizer btw LICENSES the patent from Moderna... and well...its slightly watered down in a way...because people get less side-effects and less antibody production from Pfizer's version than Moderna's. People don't seem to grasp that you WANT your body to react in some noticeable way to a vaccination to confirm its actually doing something in interacting with your immune system. Pfizers is still way better than say the Jaansen (johnson & johnson) or AstraZeneca vaccines, especially due to not producing any fatal blood clots in recepients, but still you REALLY want the Moderna one if you're eligible for it.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: Tell that to Håkan Lans….when the USA is pissed at you ’coz your tech is better than theirs, you haven’t got a chance in hell.
  • 4 0
 @Bollox64: You mean the swede who filed for a US patent in 1979 for something that was common knowledge in the 1970s computer industry and thus wouldn't actually pass a test for obviousness if it had been properly applied by a patent application examiner who know the subject matter ?! The US Patent and Trademark office is famous for awarding multiple patents to already invented technology, especially if you prepay all the fees with your application as if you were awarded it and wanted to maintain it for its maximum lifespan. I knew a guy years ago who through some creative application of the english language and grammar, and dropping 5 figures of money, got US patents for what were essentially "the wheel", and "fire" just to prove it could be done.

Back in the late 90s, the SAME patent examiner within 4 days approved patents for electronically controlled paintall guns, one issued to Brass Eagle (for their Rainmaker) and one to Smart Parts (for their Shocker)... and what happened after was Smart Parts went around sending cease and desist letters to EVERY OTHER paintball gun maker that had an electronically controlled paintball gun already on the market, or in planning, and suiing the ones that didn't comply, on the basis of their claim that they'd invented and patents ALL electronic paintball guns. How could they make that claim ? Via continuation application revisions they kept expanding the terms of their original claim (which was strictly related to their original design), This is actually illegal under patent law but lots of individuals and corporations get this shit approved because republican members of congress have for years stripped important funding from the USPTO which would otherwise result in their having proper staffing of qualified people to examine applications properly. Same sort of budget cutting that leads the IRS to not be able to properly conduct audits of people in a timely fashion, or go after major tax cheats and tax evasion.

Now how Smart Parts came to be filing a patent for something they hadn't actually invented was this...the founders of SP were a couple lawyers who the industry later learned were patent trolls. They'd gotten into paintball thru accessories like barrels and had learned that a company called PneuVentures was developing an electro-pneumatic paintball gun called the Shocker... SP then entered into a business arrangement where they would market the shocker under their brand name exclusively and PneuVentures would do all the manufacturing. P-V made the mistake of signing such a contract and then SP went about placing a large order for thousands of guns... P-V starts building them and keeps waiting to be paid, and waiting and waiting and then SP cancels the order... P-V is now stuck with by then several hundred finished guns which they're unable to sell to anyone because of that earlier exclusive marketing deal. They end up going bankrupt and then the brothers behind SP swooped in at the bankruptcy auction and got all the tooling, design blueprints, etc for pennies on the dollar... oh and all the completed inventory.
  • 1 0
 nerdy, I like I like
  • 2 0
 incoming conspiracy theorists in 3 2 1
  • 1 1
 @showmethemountains: Again, that is not evidence. People won't suddenly stop inventing things and innovating just because of the lack of patent monopoly status. The evidence I see is that patents hurt innovation. A decent sized company has to have more lawyers than engineers nowadays. Look at the Google/Oracle debacle. The Samsung/Apple debacle (patent on a rectangle with rounded corners).


You can't look at the state of the world and say, "see, none of this good stuff would be here if it weren't for X". You need evidence that X caused the good things. There is no evidence that I've ever seen for patents, ceteris paribus, making an economy grow faster, making a higher standard of living, nor helping smaller startups VS entrenched megacorps.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: You are correct the evidence is lacking, as the economy we know an love is based on protection.

That being said. We can compare a few things.

We could compare the level of innovation in Russia after the communist revolution, of the general public vs. protected and paid government controlled scientists. You could also compare Russian innovation during that time vs. the rest of the capitalist world.

We can do a survey of the number of Pinkers who are willing to work for free, who are not independently wealthy or have another source of income. Because every one of them works for a company or owns a company that charges for their product and is protected in some way.

You could create a list of people/companies that give away their intellectual property and make enough money off of that property to pay the bills and I will make a list of people and companies that dont give away their intellectual property and have money to pay bills and hire billions of people around the world.

Even the pinkbike podcast the other day (on 3D printing) the one guy said he doesn't care if people copy his product(as long as not for sale, so that is still a form of protection), but he followed that up with the admission he makes most of his money off of his internet presence(youtube etc...) not the products.
  • 2 1
 @fabwizard: Coming from the software side of things, the #1 code editor, vscode, is free. No patents, no DRM, no donations. The #1 browser (Chromium, used by Chrome, Brave, Edge, etc) is free, the #1 (and all the rest of the top ten) Javascript templating library is free, the #1 database software is free, the #1 operating system (linux running on servers) is free, and on and on and on. This whole idea that you can patent a rectangle with rounded corners, or pinch to zoom is incomprehensible to anyone familiar with technology.
  • 3 1
 @hamncheez: That is like saying Pinkbike is free. Someone is paying for it. Advertisers, you with your personal info, etc...

A quick look at VSCode website showed that they are monetizing in other ways. Just a loss leader for the real money maker. So not free.
marketplace.visualstudio.com/subscriptions
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: Yes, but vscode source is free, and you can use it directly with vscodium. Even so, of course things need to be monetized! Thats not the point. The point is there is no evidence showing a causal relationship between government granted patents and an increase in any key indicator for human wellbeing as a whole. Of course there are billionaires who made their fortunes from patents, but this is at the expense of others, and does not raise key indicators for the economy as a whole.

There is no evidence that a modern economy needs patents in order to develop or thrive.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: Yes, most products most of the time don't need patents because they innovations are small and iterative. I see now that my first line in that response made it sound inflated; that everything is only because of patents. I agree that patents can be wasted on small and frivolous things, and that is a tradeoff that needs to be managed better. Software is certainly the worst area and perhaps needs to be treated differently, but in the world of physical products, R&D budgets, manufacturing equipment, etc the costs of innovation can be high and yet quickly reverse-engineered by competitors after release. Small companies with innovative ideas wouldn't stand a chance against big companies with better resources stealing all their ideas, so without patents a lot of the manufacturing world would likely move more and more into consolidation under billionaire businessmen

This is admittedly not something that can easily proven in hard numbers. Everything I've seen firsthand within one company isn't easily surveyed and tallied across an industry let alone a nation

FWIW Google, Oracle, Samsung, Apple, etc aren't decent-sized companies, they are massive companies bigger than 99.9% of everything else out there and therefore operate in very different ways and legal budgets to cover their risks. Average companies might have a lawyer in-house or they might just have one on retainer, and it would differ by industries.
  • 1 1
 @showmethemountains: Yes, agree, few things in life are hard black/white.

Here is my point though. I'm not saying there is 100%, or even 80% evidence that patents are good/bad, I'm saying there is little to no evidence. its like Chemotherapy. You better be 99.99% sure that you have cancer before you give yourself this treatment. You better be 99.99% sure you have a broken leg before putting a cast on it. Just yesterday I was at the dentist for a tooth problem, and I wasn't paying attention and they xrayed the wrong side of my face, and said "theres no problem. Just don't floss there for a few weeks". It wasn't until I was home that I realized our mistake.

This is the same for patents. Now, esp. in the USA, patents enrich large, established companies at the expense of startups. Maybe this is worth it, maybe it isn't. But its tens of billions (if not hundreds of billions) of dollars getting redirected away from some and towards others on the assumption that its a good thing, with no evidence. Its like giving chemotherapy to a patient because "they probably have cancer".
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I'm all for this kind of regular gut-check, but we also don't have great evidence that the situation would be better without patents. Like I said, there is plenty of reason to believe that without patents, the large companies would only get more established as they use their resources to copy the innovations of smaller companies and produce them at lower costs. Or that smaller companies could go under or get bought up when their innovation is copied and they can't cover the R&D debts

At this point of over 200 years of patents in the US, the chaos of getting rid of patents entirely could easily be far worse that the excesses of either option in a stable state. I think our only real option is reforming and refining the system.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Yes, the people who make the bad policy never pay the cost. The cost of getting off the patent regime would be painful. But so is getting off addiction to 64oz sodas (something I've had to do several times). You don't just keep applying chemotherapy to a patient who may or may not have cancer because weaning off it is hard, you do it anyways.

Like any addiction, its probably best not to go cold turkey, but do it slowly. Stop issuing new patents, or shorten the year they are effective incrementally, until new patents only last 5 years, then cut them off. Something along those lines.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Good point about tapering off, but that still doesn't address the point that there is no evidence that our economy without patents would be better instead of worse.

I find your cancer and addiction analogies for patents misleading and more than a little biased sounding. We have options to choose between trying to protect innovations or not. Both can massive consequences, both good and bad. Neither one of these choices is inherently cancer, especially considering that, like you said, we have no evidence either way. "You better be 99.99% sure that you have cancer before you give yourself this treatment." could just as equally apply to the idea of removing laws to move to 100% unregulated competition and hope that it turns out better.

If you're coming from the software world, I can see why patents feel especially frustrating. Software has only been a thing for about 60 years out of all human existence, and we certainly haven't figured out yet how to best apply laws and ideas that were written about physical products. Also in the US the combination of patents, funding approaches, interest in cashing out on ideas, Silicon Valley tech boom, etc have all conspired to make that industry very consolidated. But patents are only one part of that list.
  • 1 1
 @showmethemountains:

1. It is an assumtion, not a given, that patents protect innovation. Just because the TSA is called "Transportation Security" doesn't mean it makes air travel more secure. There is a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
2. Unregulated competition is the default position, not the other way around. Patent enforcement has to be enforced, applied, administered. Like a medical treatment. You don't give a powerful medical treatment with unknown side effects without being very confident in your diagnosis.
3. Software is a good example of the negatives of patents. The very fact that it is new has helped it remain immune to patent law in most cases, but where patents do come in it creates inefficiencies, inequality, concentrated wealth, and stifles innovation. Oracle now is more of a patent asset company than a software company. All they do is license decades old patents and litigate. They don't innovate in anything. Their software is terrible. Meanwhile, competitors who do not have patent protection innovate, grow, excel, and have far superior products.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez:
Unregulated is the default for everything, and then humans develop society, laws, judges, administrators, police, etc. But we try to find the reasonable limits and not regulate everything. Patents are part of this balancing act as applied to regulating competition, as are laws about price-fixing, monopolization, private non-compete contracts, etc.

Picking some examples of patent trolls isn't proof of the whole system being bad either, its just anecdotes of a worst-case side-effect of patents.
  • 3 0
 @showmethemountains: Valiant effort, but there's no reasoning with this guy.
  • 2 0
 @Eatsdirt: Can you show me where I lack reasoning.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Yes, there is a difference between self-regulating (I don't poop where I eat), societal regulation (we look down on jerks), and government regulation (you can't sell raw milk to your neighbor).

Government regulates people and says, "we lock you up if your murder". You won't find too many opposed to this. However, government saying "we have a judge who is not technically proficient in your field who was persuaded by a lawyer that your idea is too close to someone elses idea" is not this societal self-regulation. It is not the same at all. Patents are not "part of this balancing act" of societal self-regulation. Asserting something doesn't make it true. Patents require tens of thousands of lawyers, thousands of enforcers (police), and in the aggregate, it transfers/concentrates wealth upwards.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: You acknowledged that there is no useful evidence that patents are good *or bad*, but then keep boldly reasserting that we have to get rid of patents. Why then should we make the change without evidence?
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Painting a straw-man picture of the flaws in the execution of an idea does not prove that the idea itself isn't valid and isn't a valid part of societal self-regulation like the other examples. Anti-trust law has also had its flaws and been used over-aggressively for political reasons at times and ignored at other times. Reliance on lawyers and judges who aren't subject matter experts isn't unique to patents, its just something that the entire legal system has to deal with and mitigate in every aspect of civil and criminal law.

Patents certainly do cause issues when systems aren't designed or run well, and this has been a frustration going back centuries. No country that I know of has ever decided to try getting of them, but there have been plenty of patent reforms that helped reduce the negative side-effects
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: You've said that patents don't protect innovation/IP, yet there are obvious examples everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It's clear you're choosing to only see the abuses of the system. Don't know what else to tell you.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: Because patent law has to be applied. It takes up from law enforcement budgets. It is a positive (positive as in active, not a value judgement) enforcement. It is analogous to a treatment on a patient. It has huge economic consequences totaling tens of billions of dollars. It is not the "default" position. And it is all done with no real, meaningful evidence of societal benefits. There is only evidence of personal benefit.
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: It protects SOME IP at the expense of others. But again, there is no evidence that "protecting IP", which is doublespeak for granting monopoly status, benefits everyone at a societal level. Certainly not enough evidence to justify taking peoples income and forcing them to alter their business practices.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: The execution of an idea is tightly coupled to the idea itself. Patent law cannot be enforced uniformly or fairly precisely because it is administered by the judicial system.

Anti-trust law is a great example. It has created more monopolies than it has prevented. Prior to Microsoft being investigated by the DOJ, they had yet to spend a dollar lobbying in Washington DC. Now they average over $11 million/year lobbying. Now, is that $11 million a year for our benefit, or their benefit?
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Its free to you because you did not buy the other products. But it is not free, it is paid for by others paying for the other products.

Also re your cancer example. to make it actually comparable. You would have to also say you did not know if the cancer treatment did anything at all. As there are no studies to show that a lack of patent protection is the right answer either.

Next. Patent law is just another form of ownership. If you challenge that, you should also be challenging all forms of ownership as they are all controlled by laws/rules. The very land you own is given to you by laws. The bike you own is protected by laws. In fact you may want to join a communist country, I hear that is an idealist way of living. Let me know how that worked out. Oh wait both major communist countries are actually controlled by dictators.

Anyway please show me evidence that a modern economy can function without patents AND maintain its pace of innovation.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: The cost of protecting patents is huge yes and you feel that it is the end consumer who is paying for it and a transfer of wealth.

But if patents are not protected who will pay for innovation. Likely, would be the governments, which we pay for in the form of taxes.

Example Covid Vaccine. If Big Pharma was not protected would they have created the vaccines at a cost of billions only to have a small company copy their work a few months after they are approved? Not a hope in heck. They would have come to the US government with their hand out and said we can develop it but pay us billions and the government would have had to, and you would have had to pay for it in your taxes. same transfer of wealth. Just a different way.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: The neutral point is one of inaction, non-aggression. Patent law is enforced with guns. If you sell things that violate a patent, you will be fined and/or put in prison. This is why I didn't use cancer as an analogy, but chemotherapy. The default position is not the active position. When you are actively doing something, you need at least some justification. Especially when that "actively doing" is doing something to others.

I used the tech examples to show innovation is not only possible but happens all the time without patents. Nikola Tesla innovated and either never patented his inventions or ever enforced his patents.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: patents go back longer than 200 years. Benjamin franklin had many inventions, but he refused to file patents so they could easily be used. Of particular note was the use of electrcity.
  • 1 0
 @Markedconn: Franklin did not invent electricity. Electricity is a natural phenomenon that he documented with his kite and key experiment. His whole aim was to prove lightning was a form of electricity in 1752. There was nothing to patent. Thomas Edison on the other hand did invent eclectic energy usage and consumption methods, which he most certainly patented several of.

Saying Franklin invented electricity is like saying the first person to see a bear invented bears.
  • 1 0
 Why was BURTON only named in the suit and not Bontrager/WAveCel
  • 1 2
 Koroyd and Wavecel are completely different and perform different during impacts. Koroyd needs some Preparation H !
  • 1 1
 What does Continental tires have to do with helmets?
  • 2 2
 hell yeah, f*ck burton
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