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BD Patent on Cams to Expire Next Year
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jetson


Sep 10, 2003, 11:46 AM
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BD Patent on Cams to Expire Next Year
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Just a heads up, I heard through a couple climbing shops that Black Diamond's patent on their double-axle cams expires next year. With that being said, I think next year we will see the prices drop a little. I have a feeling we are going to see many other companies copying the double-axle so we may have some cheaper options for the same quality cam.

Again, just a heads up. Use the information how you like.

Jetson


mother_sheep


Sep 10, 2003, 12:13 PM
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I'm not really sure how patent laws work but why don't they just renew the patent? Or can they not do that?


soccer_fan


Sep 10, 2003, 12:23 PM
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The way patents work is once they have expired the information that was patented becomes part of the public domain. So, hopefully once the patent expires we will see some cheaper double-axled cams made by someone. If I had the $$$ to develop and market a "Soccer_fan" brand of double-axle cam and had a way to pay for CE/UIAA certification you'd see 'em avaliable the day the patent runs out...

So if anyone has the cash reserves to have a few hundred or a few thousand cams made, I know enough CAD (SolidWorks) to reverse-engineer a BD and would be happy to partner with someone to make these said cheaper cams...


fear


Sep 10, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Maybe true... But keep in mind just having a good detailed design is FAR from actually manufacturing a good product, esp one that people's lives depend on....

-Fear


pico23


Sep 10, 2003, 1:01 PM
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Just a heads up, I heard through a couple climbing shops that Black Diamond's patent on their double-axle cams expires next year. With that being said, I think next year we will see the prices drop a little. I have a feeling we are going to see many other companies copying the double-axle so we may have some cheaper options for the same quality cam.

Again, just a heads up. Use the information how you like.

Jetson

I believe it expires in 2005 actually. You can check the Patent on the US Patent Office website. Actually you can check any patent on the website, even expired ones.

Patents vary in length depending on the type of patent you apply for. You apply based on what you've created. Mechanical patents generally are the longest (15 years??). I just threw out a whole patent law book that some patent lawyer sent me. YOu can also get most of this information via the patent office website.

Anyway like copyrights once they expire they are public domain. Anyone can use them without paying royalties.

I'm sure double axle cams will be cloned soon after the patent expires. Afterall BD's made a killing on the patent I'm sure lots of companies will hope to cash in on it as well. I kind of hope they don't actually make copies of the BD cam because while the double axle is nice BD cams are overall the flimsiest I've owned. I'm not too worried about quality as there are many good companies out there already producing quality cams.


wlderdude


Sep 11, 2003, 6:15 PM
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There is a pat # on the trigger of the BD cams. You can look it up (I did once). The US pat office has a web page with access to all kinds of patents. I didn't see any expiration date stated, or even a length of the patent.

I asked someone at BD (who works in their store) about it and said something about WC possibly getting a 1 year sort of patent after BD's expired. She didn't really sound like she knoew what she was talking about and I don't know enough about the "finer" points of patent law to really understant how or if this would have any truth behind it.

Claritin managed to keep the cheapies out of the market after its patent expired. I don't know how it managed that.

Incedentally, Tricams have a pat # on them, even though it expired a log time ago.


soma


Sep 11, 2003, 7:17 PM
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Patents are funny things. Sometimes the date they are supposed to expire gets extended ten years. Kinda like what happened with Prozac. They made a once weekly dosage and the patent was modified.

Dave


Partner coldclimb


Sep 11, 2003, 7:25 PM
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Patents are funny things. Sometimes the date they are supposed to expire gets extended ten years. Kinda like what happened with Prozac. They made a once weekly dosage and the patent was modified.

Dave

I thought that was the case too. Kinda cool how something that would be so useful to the interests of the company would happen like that. :wink: :wink:

I mentioned this to my dad, and he replied with some rubbish about renewing the patent. hmph :roll:


rockprodigy


Sep 11, 2003, 9:01 PM
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Kinda cool how something that would be so useful to the interests of the company would happen like that. :wink: :wink:

Yeah, well if they don't protect the company's interests, there will be no incentive for them to spend money on innovation (yeah, that costs money).

I doubt all these companies will start copying the camalots, because for the past 15 years companies like Wild Country, DMM, Metolius etc., have been telling us consumers that their designs are superior to the double axle...so why would they create a product that they told us is inferior?


phugganut


Sep 11, 2003, 9:21 PM
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...I asked someone at BD (who works in their store) about it and said something about WC possibly getting a 1 year sort of patent after BD's expired...

I certainly hope not! IMHO Tech Friends are superior to Camalots, and I think that WC feels the same way, too. I seriously doubt their gonna try to copy the Camalot design.


mungeclimber


Sep 11, 2003, 10:11 PM
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how?

The cam stops on a tech friends are no where near the passive capacity of the Camalot design, nor does it provide the overlapping range that the camalot provides.


jackmguirk


Sep 11, 2003, 10:32 PM
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Ah I see very important fact. By the way do you place your cams passively very often? Camstops are nice, but I have never placed a cam passive and I never will.


phugganut


Sep 11, 2003, 11:15 PM
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how?

The cam stops on a tech friends are no where near the passive capacity of the Camalot design, nor does it provide the overlapping range that the camalot provides.

No overlapping range? Are you so misinformed? WC Tech Friends have MUCH overlapping range. In fact, not only do all Tech Friends overlap the next size up, most overlap the next 2 sizes up, and some even overlap the next 3 sizes. Camalots do generally have a tiny bit more range than TF's, but that's not always the case, and a few TF's even have more range than a similiar size Camalot. Furthermore, TF's are lighter than Camalots, whick means that you can carry more of them on your rack for the same weight, thereby increasing the overlap even more, as well as giving you more options and/or placements. Now I know that sometimes an individual Camalot's slight range advantage can be a bit more convenient when leading at your limit b/c (theoretically) it can make it easier to just "pop one in & go," but after you've been using Friends for a while, it's pretty easy to tell which cam goes where.
As for the cam stop strength, most TF's cam stops are 12 to 14 Kn. Is that not enough? If not, then you better toss out all of your nuts, most of your wired hexes, as well as a few tricams. Oh yeah, and don't even think of using most of your Aliens; they're obviously not strong enough for you. Besides, how often do you use the cam stops anyway??? A few of the smaller TF's have "only" 11 Kn strength, and the 00 is only 6, but in that small of a cam, the rock is more likely to blow before the cam stop does.

Shall I go on?
On the bigger cams, WC Tech Friends really shine. They actually make the lobes wider and much farther apart to help prevent the inherent "wobbliness" of large cams. The big TF's are way nice!

Oh, and Tech Friends are much cheaper, too. IMHO Camalots are overpriced. However, I'm fully aware that to many people price = quality.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not dissing Camalots. They are very nice cams and a joy to place. I've placed many & climbed on them a lot, and I've never had any doubts about their quality. After all, you don't get such a large, loyal following for nothing, at least not in the climbing world. It's just that if you notice in my previous post I prefaced it with IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) and my opinion WC Tech Friend are overall preferable.


pico23


Sep 12, 2003, 10:40 AM
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Patents are funny things. Sometimes the date they are supposed to expire gets extended ten years. Kinda like what happened with Prozac. They made a once weekly dosage and the patent was modified.

Dave

Apparently you never noticed this but every time a major drug expires they have another waiting. It's always better, easier to take, less side effects, overall it's worth not going generic. <---i'm being sarcastic. Personally, as long as my insurance pays for it I couldn't care less what I take. If it's out of pocket I'll take whatever it is the hard way and save the money.

Eli Lilly didn't extend the patent on Prozac, they made a different time release model fluoxetine is generic but the extended release is now patented.

In case there are other drug buffs out there Paxil (paroxetine) just went generic as well and is in pharmacies near you.

Drug companies patents are different then mechanical patents and shouldn't be compared. Even the marketing is different like Serafem and Prozac which are both the same drug marketed under two different names. Wellbutrin and Zyban are also the same just marketed under different names. My guess is the social stigma of going to the Rx for Prozac is far worse then for Serafem. The same goes for Wellbutrin and Zyban.

The single stem cam trigger is a Wild Country Design and patent which BD uses but the patent that is expiring in 2005 is the double axle. The patent page can be difficult to navigate but if you put in the correct patent # in the right section everything you need including diagrams submited for patent review will be on the site.


pico23


Sep 12, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Ah I see very important fact. By the way do you place your cams passively very often? Camstops are nice, but I have never placed a cam passive and I never will.

So then you've never placed one where it could walk? You've never needed a bigger cam that you already placed and placed it over under cammed?

Both situations can lead to a cam holding passively or worse without cam stops cause a cam to invert. this is why aliens need to be extra carefuly placed because they lack any cam stops and will invert and pull out. I've seen a few accidents listed on this site which appeared that placing a cam (alien) too small caused the cam to invert and pull with little or no damage to the cam lobes.

At the bigger and smaller ends of the cam range wild country and CCH aliens are better then camalots but look at the expansion of the 1-3 camalots. Above 3 Friends are close the gap and weight less, below .75 Camalots are heavy and excessively wide.


pico23


Sep 12, 2003, 11:02 AM
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In reply to:
Kinda cool how something that would be so useful to the interests of the company would happen like that. :wink: :wink:

Yeah, well if they don't protect the company's interests, there will be no incentive for them to spend money on innovation (yeah, that costs money).

I doubt all these companies will start copying the camalots, because for the past 15 years companies like Wild Country, DMM, Metolius etc., have been telling us consumers that their designs are superior to the double axle...so why would they create a product that they told us is inferior?

I have two words, ROCK EMPIRE. Someone is gonna make double axle designs and it's gonna be up to you to decide whether you want them but I guarantee the beggining leader who's been buying Ocun, Ande, Trango, Camp, HB, and Rock Empire cams for the last few years because they could get a whole set of most of those for the price of 3 camalots is gonna jump on the chance to own the famed double axle design. And even if the BD label is too much for the noobs to pass up then some grizzled trad fart will buy them because he needs a second or third set of cams and Company X is selling them for $39.95 while BD is still charging $120 for the #5 Green Monster.

Personally, I'd like to see a double axle with the old U-stem produced and some improved trigger wires. I don't really need any more double axles but it would be a nice option in case i need to replace any of my Camalots.


jt512


Sep 12, 2003, 11:42 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Kinda cool how something that would be so useful to the interests of the company would happen like that. :wink: :wink:

Yeah, well if they don't protect the company's interests, there will be no incentive for them to spend money on innovation (yeah, that costs money).

I doubt all these companies will start copying the camalots, because for the past 15 years companies like Wild Country, DMM, Metolius etc., have been telling us consumers that their designs are superior to the double axle...so why would they create a product that they told us is inferior?

I have two words, ROCK EMPIRE. Someone is gonna make double axle designs and it's gonna be up to you to decide whether you want them but I guarantee the beggining leader who's been buying Ocun, Ande, Trango, Camp, HB, and Rock Empire cams for the last few years because they could get a whole set of most of those for the price of 3 camalots is gonna jump on the chance to own the famed double axle design. And even if the BD label is too much for the noobs to pass up then some grizzled trad fart will buy them because he needs a second or third set of cams and Company X is selling them for $39.95 while BD is still charging $120 for the #5 Green Monster.

Personally, I'd like to see a double axle with the old U-stem produced and some improved trigger wires. I don't really need any more double axles but it would be a nice option in case i need to replace any of my Camalots.

What's so great about double-axle cams? They mainly increase the total weight of your rack, since the argument that they allow you to carry fewer cams is a fallacy.

-Jay


mewalrus


Sep 12, 2003, 2:26 PM
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Yeah, well if they don't protect the company's interests, there will be no incentive for them to spend money on innovation (yeah, that costs money).

Nope

In reality they hold back innovation, especially in this case. BD has little incentive to innovate because they have the market cornered. The new players will take BD's design and INNOVATE to hopefully make a better product.

Patents and corporate secrecy are delaying new discoveries on a MASSIVE SCALE. If people could actually work together we would be light years ahead of where we stand today. Instead we have our greed driven society. Maybe humans aren't capable of moving beyond it, who knows.


There is a balance that needs to happen in our system, but there also needs to be a way to hold companies responsible if they abuse their patent rights. What about the person with a patent who gouges on prices and spends absolutely nothing on innovation or investment?


robmcc


Sep 12, 2003, 3:31 PM
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In reality they hold back innovation, especially in this case. BD has little incentive to innovate because they have the market cornered. The new players will take BD's design and INNOVATE to hopefully make a better product.

Just not true. There are very big players in the market...well, most markets, anyway, who can take your idea and mass produce it at a price point you, as a little guy, will never touch. There was an article in Inc., I believe, in the last year where someone came up with a nifty idea for a fire safety product. One of the big players in the fire safety product business saw it, copied it, and used their market leverage to basically push the innovator off the shelves. Patents protect the little guy (and the big guy) from this kind of stuff. Yes, the little guy sued and won. BD benefitted by getting the patent on this. Patents give people who could never hope to compete with BD's distribution or name recognition a chance to compete, and a guarantee that if they develop a superior idea, they'll have the opportunity to reap the rewards.

Patents are currently being abused in a number of cases, but in general, they are not a bad thing.


peas


Sep 12, 2003, 3:45 PM
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In reality they hold back innovation, especially in this case. BD has little incentive to innovate because they have the market cornered. The new players will take BD's design and INNOVATE to hopefully make a better product.
I also disagree. If someone has a patent, other companies will try to innovate around the patent in order to get a chunk of the market. I work in an IP department and have witnessed this firsthand.

Also, I looked up the patent listed on the BD cams. It was granted in 1987 and is valid for 17 years. That means that sometime next year (I think in May, but I forget), BD loses protection on that idea. Another interesting thing is that the patent is granted to some guy, and is not assigned to Black Diamond, which probably means that Black Diamond doesn't own the patent, but has some sort of licensing deal. I hope the guy negotiated a good royalty out of the whole thing. :)

I couldn't find any related Wild Country patents on the double axel cam either.

Brock


wlderdude


Sep 12, 2003, 4:18 PM
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Actaully, I believe patents are always listed in people's names, even if a company has control of it. My grandfather worked for Sandia National Labrotories and had several of their patents in his name.

One thing is for certain. If the drug companies could not protect their research, testing and approvals to develop new drugs, there would exist few drugs beyond asprin. I would, however, like to see the extra protections they seem to recieve revolked. 15 years is plenty of thime to recover those costs.


peas


Sep 12, 2003, 4:39 PM
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The inventors listed are individuals, but they can also assign the patent to a company. This assignment is noted on the patent and means that the company owns the patent. Also, if the US government has funded the research that leads to the invention, they may not be listed as the assignee, but they have some rights to use the ideas contained within the patent.

Another thing that can happen if the company isn't assigned the patent is that they can license the patent from whoever owns the patent. Often licenses can be exclusive, meaning that nobody else can use the patent.


Partner drector


Sep 12, 2003, 4:58 PM
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[quote="mewalrus]In reality they hold back innovation
That's pretty lame. If you could not patent your stuff, you would not bother to invent it since some other guy with more backing would then steal the design and outsell you. The patent is not supposed to promote innovation after the patent, it is supposed to protect people from getting screwed after they innovated thus promoting the innovation BEFORE the patent was obtained.


Partner coldclimb


Sep 12, 2003, 6:37 PM
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I think I'll rephrase my last post to make it slightly less vague:

Why can't they simply renew their patent? :o


mewalrus


Sep 12, 2003, 7:26 PM
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[quote="mewalrus]In reality they hold back innovation

That's pretty lame. If you could not patent your stuff, you would not bother to invent it since some other guy with more backing would then steal the design and outsell you. The patent is not supposed to promote innovation after the patent, it is supposed to protect people from getting screwed after they innovated thus promoting the innovation BEFORE the patent was obtained.

I do understand patents and why they exist and I agree they work pretty well.

They do support initial innovation but they can also severly limit further innovaton on that idea, which is why patents DO expire. If patents were so awesome they would never expire.

In reply to:
Why can't they simply renew their patent?

Because some smart people realized that in the long run patents have a negative impact. They do provide short term ""Inncentive"" for people based on the greed system we live in, but in the long term they actually limit competition and hurt consumers.

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