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SawStop lawsuit against tool companies dismissed

In February, a company called SawStop filed an antitrust lawsuit against four major toolmakers, claiming they had conspired against SawStop founder Stephen Gass in blocking the standardization of his injury-prevention technology.

According to a report in Bloomberg last week, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria, Virginia, officially dismissed the suit on June 27, taking Stanley Black & Decker, Hitachi Koki Co., Makita Corp. and Ryobi Technologies off the hook.

The suit was filed by SD3 LLC and SawStop LLC of Tualatin, Oregon against the companies, claiming they had impeded the licensing of Gass's product and the adoption of SawStop technology industry-wide.

Gass has spent the past few months campaigning for his product, which uses skin-sensing technology to prevent table saw blades from injuring or amputating fingers.

He brought the device to the International Woodworkers Fair in Atlanta, FairWarning reports. There, he pushed a hot dog into a table saw blade, which stopped short just in time to prevent anything beyond a minor nick.

The company has been making its own saws since 2004 after failing to secure licensing deals with any of the major toolmakers and has chalked up 2,000 "finger saves" since (though there have been two reported amputations).

Gass claims the companies are obstructing him over fears that liability charges would skyrocket once a viable injury-prevention technology hit the market.

The companies argued that SawStop would be a burdensome expense, especially in the market for lightweight saws that usually cost about $100. They also claimed that injury statistics are exaggerated, and that adopting SawStop would make them unable to compete with the Power Tool Institute's less expensive products. The addition of the device would add $100 to the cost of a table saw, they claimed, which is partially due to high royalty fees that would be owed to SawStop. 

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