A ruling handed down by the U.S. International Trade Commission would block importing and sales of the new Bosch Reaxx safety saw to United States customers because the commission found the saw violates patents held by SawStop.
Announced January 27, the ruling concludes an investigation prompted by SawStop officials, charging that the Bosch Reaxx saw violated multiple patents held by SawStop. The commission found that the Reaxx saw, which is sold in the United States by Robert Bosch Tool Corp. of Mount Prospect, Illinois, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, did indeed violate two patents held by SawStop.
Both the SawStop saws and the Bosch saws are designed to protect users from accidental contact with the blade. They both sense contact between the blade and flesh. Once contact is detected, the SawStop saw instantly drives a spring loaded block of aluminum into the blade to stop its motion while simultaneously dropping the blade below the saw table. The Bosch saw does not stop the blade rotation, but it uses a powerful gas cartridge to instantly propel the blade below the table and out of harm’s way.
Commission officials held that SawStop’s patents for the safety saw technology were violated irrespective of the difference in how the saws work. “The Commission has determined that the appropriate form of relief is a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry of covered table saws incorporating active injury mitigation technology and components thereof manufactured for or on behalf of Respondents (Bosch) or their affiliated companies, parents, subsidiaries, contractors and other related business entities, successors or assigns,” states the order.
In an “order to cease and desist” issued by the commission, Bosch must stop importing or selling the Reaxx saw and any of its components in the United States. However, there is a 60-day period in which Bosch can continue to sell the saws and parts while the ruling is subject to review by the President’s U.S. Trade Representative.
According to the filing, if the Trade Representative ratifies the decision, Bosch could still try to enter into a licensing agreement with SawStop to continue to import and sell the saws. The two SawStop patents on which the case hinges expire in 2020 and 2022. It is not clear at this point whether there is any other avenue of appeal for Bosch. Nor is it clear what affect the ruling has, if any, on existing saws already sold to consumers. It would appear that, at the very least, there would be no parts support for the saws’ critical active injury mitigation technology.
Officials from Bosch and SawStop were not immediately available for comment.