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Court trial between Warchal and Thomastik


fiddler59
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A novel application IS a new idea!

 

I think it may be a waste of time to try to apply logic or rational thinking to patents or patent disputes. They are tools of commerce, used by lawyers to advance the fortunes of their clients and themselves.

I suspect Warchal are caught between a rock and a hard place. Their essential position is idealistic "this is a good idea, it's our idea, we can turn the idea into a product,  we can market it for what it is and people will want to buy it", but pragmatically, unless they hire a more expensive lawyer than their competitor, they will be prevented from even selling the thing, let alone retaining exclusive rights to it ...

 

As I understand it, Warchal have been threatened with legal action if they attempt to sell this string in the US. They feel the risk of a successful suit is too great to simply ignore the threat, although the argument on which this threat is based (that Thomastik have already patented this idea) is in fact spurious.

 

Like robertdo, I think it's very ironic that Thomastik are threatening someone with legal action for making a successful E string, given that Dominant E strings are only good for cutting cheese.

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A novel application IS a new idea!

 

I think it may be a waste of time to try to apply logic or rational thinking to patents or patent disputes. They are tools of commerce, used by lawyers to advance the fortunes of their clients and themselves.

I suspect Warchal are caught between a rock and a hard place. Their essential position is idealistic "this is a good idea, it's our idea, we can turn the idea into a product,  we can market it for what it is and people will want to buy it", but pragmatically, unless they hire a more expensive lawyer than their competitor, they will be prevented from even selling the thing, let alone retaining exclusive rights to it ...

 

As I understand it, Warchal have been threatened with legal action if they attempt to sell this string in the US. They feel the risk of a successful suit is too great to simply ignore the threat, although the argument on which this threat is based (that Thomastik have already patented this idea) is in fact spurious.

 

Like robertdo, I think it's very ironic that Thomastik are threatening someone with legal action for making a successful E string, given that Dominant E strings are only good for cutting cheese.

 

If your "A novel application IS a new idea! " would be really applied, we'd be in deep trouble.

As I said, I wish him the best but I don't think WE and HERE can make light of this.

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I think it's very ironic that Thomastik are threatening someone with legal action for making a successful E string, given that Dominant E strings are only good for cutting cheese.

ARE "Thomastik are threatening someone with legal action for making a successful E string" though?

PS. I agree that Dominat E’s are s**t, and for cheese, you should avoid the wound ones. They have plenty of others though

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To answer the question:

 

"If I might refer you to my previous post (#20), what does “Our competitor just decided to mind the sale of Amber E in USA” mean please? and if there is no lawsuit, what is your dispute with Infeld?"

 

Martin Swan described it precisely: "Warchal have been threatened with legal action if they attempt to sell this string in the US"

 

They are obviously going to continue with attacks. We have noticed the activity of a Czech branch of a rating agency "working for their Austrian client". They have tried to gain and spy any possible information about us just recently.

 

Anyway, I decided not to resign from positive mood and joy of my job these days <_<

 

I wish you Healthy, Joyful, and Prosperous 2014.

 

p.s. Thanks for letting me know about this topic.

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Happy New Year.

Mr. Warchal,

Thank you for participating in this thread and for your detailed explanations. I do believe some of what you are saying is being lost in (google?) translation. For the sake of understanding, I was wondering if you could clarify a few points that you made.

 

***

In fact, the competitor was not able to say me (or they didn’t want to) what is the problem, in other words, why we violate their patent during our recent personal meeting.

 

***

 

The only thing they told me (where they find a collision with their patent) should allegedly be “plastical twist”. They claim area with “plastic twist” in their patent. Plastic means a deformation, that is so intensive that never returns to its original state (unlike elastic, which does return). Anyway, I am sure that the principle we use for Amber E elasticity increase is not a twist, but a spiral. There is even a product made by the particular competitor named Spirocore. It is logical, since there is a tiny spiral inside. This is why it is called Spirocore, not a Twistcore. Spiral cannot be confused with twist I am sure.

 

Please correct/approve the below summary as you see fit, this is what I understand you to be writing:

 

1.  Thomastik wrote you/your company a letter threatening to sue you if you sell your Amber E string in the USA or Austria

2.  In it's "Cease & Desist letter" Thomastik/infeld is claiming that your Amber E string violates U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885

3.  Thomastik/Infeld have not told you specifically what part of U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885 is allegedly being violated

4.  You are assuming they are referring to the section of U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885 that reads as follows:

 

14. A music string, comprising at least a first play area for a musician to induce tone-generating vibrations, the play area including at least a first area having a first vibration behavior and a second area having a second vibration behavior, wherein the first vibration behavior is different from the second vibration behavior, when undergoing identical and predefined test conditions, wherein the music string is made of a single metal wire which is free of a wrap-around winding and plastically intertwined between the first area and the second area.

15. The music string of claim 14, wherein at least the first area has a plastic twist.

 

5.  You do not believe that your Amber E violates U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885

6.  The Amber E uses a spiral of plastic to help with elasticity

7.  The spiral characteristic of the Amber E plastic is not "twisted plastic" but rather an untwisted spiral of plastic

8.  Thomastik has hired a Czech branch of a "rating agency" that has recently been spying on you and your company trying to gather as much information as possible. (What is a Rating Agency? Private detectives? This is lost in translation for me)

9.  Despite everything, you are keeping high spirits in this holiday season and personally wish MN member BassClef a Healthy, Joyful, and Prosperous 2014 (thank you)

_________________________________

If anyone wants to read over the full text of Thomasik's Patent which appears to be the cause of this dispute:

 

1.  Go to http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

 

2. Paste 7,947,885 in the first search field and click "Search"

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This patent appears to be an attempt to gain exclusive rights to the idea that a string might be composed of two areas, each of which having different physical or build characteristics. It cites as its starting point the wholly ludicrous concept that tonal change in shortened/stopped strings is a bad thing ....

 

Manufacturers of grand pianos must be quaking in their boots, what with all those double-wrap bass strings. Apparently Thomastik own that idea now.

 

There is no specific product or invention in this patent, merely a sketch of possible scenarios, worded in such a way as to cover as much commercial ground as possible.

I was expecting an actual product with demonstrable characteristics. This is just a revenue-generating anti-competitive patent, rather like a patent for a set of possible machines combining vacuum cleaner technology with other sucking or blowing machines.

All very sad.

 

However, I don't see anything precisely resembling a definition of a Warchal Amber E string, and I hope it will be determined that Thomastik were not exhaustive enough in their list of possibilities. 

 

For me this is a rather shocking window into a very sorry world ... a strange kind of doublethink where you can buy a patent against the possibility of a competitor having a better idea than you.

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***

For me this is a rather shocking window into a very sorry world ... a strange kind of doublethink where you can buy a patent against the possibility of a competitor having a better idea than you.

 

I think I know what you mean, but can you clarify? Every patent costs money. If the patent should not have been granted (which is often the case) someone could challenge it (but not for free).

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Happy New Year.

Mr. Warchal,

Thank you for participating in this thread and for your detailed explanations. I do believe some of what you are saying is being lost in (google?) translation. For the sake of understanding, I was wondering if you could clarify a few points that you made.

 

 

Please correct/approve the below summary as you see fit, this is what I understand you to be writing:

 

1.  Thomastik wrote you/your company a letter threatening to sue you if you sell your Amber E string in the USA or Austria

2.  In it's "Cease & Desist letter" Thomastik/infeld is claiming that your Amber E string violates U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885

3.  Thomastik/Infeld have not told you specifically what part of U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885 is allegedly being violated

4.  You are assuming they are referring to the section of U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885 that reads as follows:

 

14. A music string, comprising at least a first play area for a musician to induce tone-generating vibrations, the play area including at least a first area having a first vibration behavior and a second area having a second vibration behavior, wherein the first vibration behavior is different from the second vibration behavior, when undergoing identical and predefined test conditions, wherein the music string is made of a single metal wire which is free of a wrap-around winding and plastically intertwined between the first area and the second area.

15. The music string of claim 14, wherein at least the first area has a plastic twist.

 

5.  You do not believe that your Amber E violates U.S. Patent Number 7,947,885

6.  The Amber E uses a spiral of plastic to help with elasticity

7.  The spiral characteristic of the Amber E plastic is not "twisted plastic" but rather an untwisted spiral of plastic

8.  Thomastik has hired a Czech branch of a "rating agency" that has recently been spying on you and your company trying to gather as much information as possible. (What is a Rating Agency? Private detectives? This is lost in translation for me)

9.  Despite everything, you are keeping high spirits in this holiday season and personally wish MN member BassClef a Healthy, Joyful, and Prosperous 2014 (thank you)

_________________________________

If anyone wants to read over the full text of Thomasik's Patent which appears to be the cause of this dispute:

 

1.  Go to http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

 

2. Paste 7,947,885 in the first search field and click "Search"

 

My English is not perfact, I have to admit. I started to learn English as aduld, mostly as self-taught person and I have never lived in any English speaking country. However, i find the German-to-Enlish translation of their patent quite poor quality. There are many mistakes, nut is named as tailpiece e.g. This is what makes the case worse to orient.

 

7. We do not use any spiral of plastic. "Spiral of plastic" has nothing in common with "plastic spiral". It is a mischance that "plastic" has so many meanings in English. In our languge, we use a term "artificial matter" for the material made form oil, used for bags, car interiours e.t.c (plastic in English). In this case (English text of the patent) "plastic means the kind of metal deformation in metallurgy terminology. It can be either plastic or elastic.

 

8. I have never said who it was. In any case, I just managed to learn thair client is an Austrian company. We have no business partners in Austria who could be motivated to pay for gaining such information. In fact, we never faced such spy activities.

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I think I know what you mean, but can you clarify? Every patent costs money. If the patent should not have been granted (which is often the case) someone could challenge it (but not for free).

There are plenty granted patents that should not have been granted. A few weeks ago, there was an intensive disscussion on violinist.com about recently granted US patent for harp shaped violin tailpiece (manufactured since baroque era). Many v.com members were having fun of it.

 

The idea of patents is good of course. However, the praxis is not so perfact and fair. try to consider that the patent commiser needs to assess and adjudge locomotive one day, whillst musical accesory another day. The main praxis is to grant any patent (unless someone submit any objection during the process) and gain money for challenging procedures afterwards.

 

However, we have at least 15 ways what to do now. Challenging their patent is one of them.

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As I understand the patent, it practically protects the idea of making a string that consist of any material or materials the patent holder could possibly think of being used for the purpose, but with two different kinds of vibrational behavior in the part of the string that is primarily used for tonal production, the different characteristics being achieved by in any way manipulating the material of the string only for a part of its length, or by producing a string made up of two different materials.

 

I wish you good luck, Bohdan, as I fear your string does answer to this description. I agree with other posters on the topic though, that the patent granted to Thomastik is too general, and it is especially wry because as far as I know (but I know not so much), Thomastik has never attempted or succeeded to develop a string according to this principle, that they deemed good enough to market. (and theyve had over 5 years time, the patent was filed in 2008!) I always thought of patents as a way to make inventing/developing new products, which often is very costly, rewarding, financially speaking. Strange that someone who invents a principle but apparently isn't capable of making that principle work successfully, so cannot prove that the principle works, nonetheless gets a patent granted. To me it sounds a bit like a scientist patenting a theoretical process of time travel, and then when someone actually manages this, to rake in the cash. I think it will be a hard job for the judge that will need to make a decision...

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I wonder if I could have a patent on a device that could fit in one hand, with some kind of keyboard (with all the letters of the alphabet) someone could use to type a text that the device would be able to send to someone else without the need for a pidgeon. It could use some waves, like electromagnetic ones. the same device could be optimised to be able to send images too... :)

then if possible, vocal messages could also be delivered in all possible languages, even extraterrestrial ones, so that aliens would not be able to battle the patent :)

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My English is not perfact, I have to admit. I started to learn English as aduld, mostly as self-taught person and I have never lived in any English speaking country. However, i find the German-to-Enlish translation of their patent quite poor quality. There are many mistakes, nut is named as tailpiece e.g. This is what makes the case worse to orient.

 

7. We do not use any spiral of plastic. "Spiral of plastic" has nothing in common with "plastic spiral". It is a mischance that "plastic" has so many meanings in English. In our languge, we use a term "artificial matter" for the material made form oil, used for bags, car interiours e.t.c (plastic in English). In this case (English text of the patent) "plastic means the kind of metal deformation in metallurgy terminology. It can be either plastic or elastic.

 

8. I have never said who it was. In any case, I just managed to learn thair client is an Austrian company. We have no business partners in Austria who could be motivated to pay for gaining such information. In fact, we never faced such spy activities.

I'm afraid translation issues are afoot, you might not be reading the patent correctly, and on top of that, you seem to be using confusing English yourself.  I'd ask that you include an additional response in your native language so that other fluent speakers might translate more accurately. Please don't take offense, it's important in this context so we can be on the same page.

 

In English, "spiral of plastic" and "plastic spiral" mean exactly the same thing.  Plastic does not have "so many meanings" in English, one typical definition of plastic is "a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form."

 

Plastic and metal are two different things altogether in English, I'm not sure where you are getting the language "plastic means the kind of metal deformation in metallurgy terminology. It can be either plastic or elastic" from. In the Patent being discussed, there are a number of times the word Plastic comes up, let's examine them briefly:

 

"7. The music string of claim 5, wherein the core is made of at least one material selected from the group consisting of natural gut, plastic, and metal."

 

Here, plastic, natural gut, and metal are stated as three different materials.

 

"The thread coverings 6, 7, which are often colored and made of plastic and/or natural fibers and/or an elastic coating,"

 

Here plastic, natural fibers, and elastic coating are stated as three different things.

 

"Preferably, the music strings 1 according to the invention have a core that is wrapped by at least one winding, in particular in helicoid manner, wherein the core preferably includes natural gut, plastic and/or metal."

 

Here again, natural gut, plastic, and metal are stated as three different core materials.

 

I don't see any definition of plastic in the patent or otherwise that conforms to your quote. I might be missing something, but it may be wise to have the patent independently translated for your purposes, perhaps by a university student or someone who does this professionally.

 

Thank you for your time and please tell us more about these spy activities, I find that most interesting. How did you learn about the spies and what has occurred so far regarding the spies and their spying!?

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BassClef, Bohdan is referring to the definition of "plastic" as a property of a substance rather than just a substance. The substance "plastic" was most likely named after its property of plasticity.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/plasticity

 

As for patent abuse, many thanks to a friend who referred me to this fascinating NPR item : http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/07/26/138576167/when-patents-attack

Many parallels with the Thomastik patent.

I very much liked this comment on the forum below the article ...

 

Alex Blumberg and Laura Sydell's story was spot on. As General Counsel to a high tech company for seven years, I am all too familiar with how badly broken our patent system is. As the story points out, the Patent Office continues to grant patents on entirely obvious so-called "inventions" whose only utility is to allow the patent owner to extort money from legitimate companies that actually make useful products. The minimum cost of defending a patent infringement case is between two and three million dollars, not to mention the distraction caused to management and talented engineers who have to participate in the defense. The only rational business calculation for the defendant is to settle the suit for something less than that. This is an easy recipe for patent trolls (and their lawyers) to get rich by holding up real businesses. The costs to the economy are enormous.

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It's probably time to return to the days when you had to present a working model to obtain a patent.

 

When were those days?

 

As a holder of 8 world patents (admittedly granted a few years ago), it was drummed into me that one cannot patent a principle. 

It used to be the case that only unexpected benefits could be patented (if they were 'excepted' they would be considered obvious and therefore not patentable). Naturally, work needed to be done to demonstrate these counterintuitive benefits.

 

Did all that change so now we are free to do thought experiments and patent them?

 

Glenn

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I'm afraid translation issues are afoot, you might not be reading the patent correctly, and on top of that, you seem to be using confusing English yourself.  I'd ask that you include an additional response in your native language so that other fluent speakers might translate more accurately. Please don't take offense, it's important in this context so we can be on the same page.

 

In English, "spiral of plastic" and "plastic spiral" mean exactly the same thing.  Plastic does not have "so many meanings" in English, one typical definition of plastic is "a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form."

 

Plastic and metal are two different things altogether in English, I'm not sure where you are getting the language "plastic means the kind of metal deformation in metallurgy terminology. It can be either plastic or elastic" from. In the Patent being discussed, there are a number of times the word Plastic comes up, let's examine them briefly:

 

"7. The music string of claim 5, wherein the core is made of at least one material selected from the group consisting of natural gut, plastic, and metal."

 

Here, plastic, natural gut, and metal are stated as three different materials.

 

"The thread coverings 6, 7, which are often colored and made of plastic and/or natural fibers and/or an elastic coating,"

 

Here plastic, natural fibers, and elastic coating are stated as three different things.

 

"Preferably, the music strings 1 according to the invention have a core that is wrapped by at least one winding, in particular in helicoid manner, wherein the core preferably includes natural gut, plastic and/or metal."

 

Here again, natural gut, plastic, and metal are stated as three different core materials.

 

I don't see any definition of plastic in the patent or otherwise that conforms to your quote. I might be missing something, but it may be wise to have the patent independently translated for your purposes, perhaps by a university student or someone who does this professionally.

 

Thank you for your time and please tell us more about these spy activities, I find that most interesting. How did you learn about the spies and what has occurred so far regarding the spies and their spying!?

I am not going to take offense don't be afraid :rolleyes: . However, if you learn any foreign language, your understanding ability is several times bettter than the ability to speak or write. Moreover we have been cooperated with patent experts since the sace arrised, so I do'nt need any help of English student I am sure.

 

In the sentences you quoted, "plastic" means the substance made mostly from oil.

 

In the patent claim No. 30 there is a "plastic twist" mentioned. It is a plastic deformation of metal wire that keeps its straight shape, but it is twisted so intensively around its longitudinal axis, that never returns back to its original state. Plastic deformation in general is what occurs with your car when you crash ino a tree e.g.

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When were those days?

 

As a holder of 8 world patents (admittedly granted a few years ago), it was drummed into me that one cannot patent a principle. 

It used to be the case that only unexpected benefits could be patented (if they were 'excepted' they would be considered obvious and therefore not patentable). Naturally, work needed to be done to demonstrate these counterintuitive benefits.

 

Did all that change so now we are free to do thought experiments and patent them?

 

Glenn

When we submitted our patent application a few month ago at Slovak patent office, we were neither asked to demonstrate any real product. However, we needed to state the (besides detailed descriptions and claims) concrete application examples with drawings. So we needed to describe very precisely the particular string and refer to the particular details in drawings. The basic condition (requirement) was, that any aveage skilled profesional from stringmaking industry is able to manufacture the particular string according our description.

 

I would be really not able to manufacture our Amber E string just according the descriptions stated in the patent of our competitor, it is obvious.

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Wouldn't it be possible for you to contact a "big" string company and try to get them to sell you E string against a pourcentage on each sale? they might be able to defend the patent more easily.

Do you mean any another stringlamer? No, we are not going to involve any other stringlaker into this case ialthough I have several friends in this kind of business. I have not created the stringmaking company in order to thread anybody, fight against anybody, to harm anybody's interests or business. I just intended to follow my dream to accelerate the progress in stringmaking a bit and make the narrow product range commonly availble strings a bit broader. I am really sorry that someone feels frightened by our development.

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Neither string technology nor patent law have ever even remotely been an area of my personal interest, nor is that lightly to change. There are a couple of points that I find difficult to grasp here though, if Bohdan could be so kind to explain:

If Infeld has such a catch-all patent (or patents), that seem applicable to almost any music string, why does that only cause problems for one of his E strings, and not for all violin strings? Has he got together with Pirastro, Larsen, Jager and all the others, and if so, what do they say?

Getting invited to the Infeld firm (and I haven't been there for years) in the Einsiedlerplatz (Einsiedler = Hermit) has always seemed to me a bit like a walk on role in an episode of “the Adams Family”. The original Dr. Thomastik was an anthroposophist, and they have a collection of some of his instruments. Cellos with a hole in the belly, where the bridge foot goes all the way through to the back and similar nonsense, and my main concern was to get out of the building without being asked to repair any of the junk. On the other hand, they seem to have had a leading role in String technology over the decades. When I made my first violins in the 70's, everyone played gut strings, mostly Pirastro Eudoxa/Oliv. If I am not mistaken, the first nylon string was the “Dominant”, which was copied by almost everyone. The first Pirastro Dominant rip-off was even called “Tonica” (Tonic-Dominant, get it?), and nylon strings have since rendered the old Eudoxas redundant. I wonder if they had had the presence of mind to patent nylon strings back then, and if not, if they aren't closing the stable door after the horse has bolted now?

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Indeed it's kind of surprising that Pirastro was able to make the tonica after thomastik had created the Dominant since with a similar so "broad" and "vague" patent as the one we are discussing here, no possibility to create another synthetic core wounded string would have existed for about 20 years after...

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