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SawStop and Bosch Tool

Per a January 27th ruling, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has ordered Customs to exclude “Bosch Reaxx table saws, and cartridges for those saws, from entering the United States” and issued a Cease and Desist letter to Robert Bosch Tool Corp. that Bosch must “cease and desist from conducting any of the following activities in the United States: importing, selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, transferring (except for exportation), and soliciting United States agents or distributors for imported [Reaxx] table saws.”[1]

A Brief Recap
As we have reported before, flesh-detecting injury-mitigation technology like SawStop’s may become the industry standard for table saws in the future. Bosch developed its own flesh-detecting technology and implemented it in the REAXX table saw marketed for the U.S. and Canada (where it will still be available). SawStop, currently the only major manufacturer of such technology in the United States, filed suit against Bosch for patent infringement in July of 2015. Bosch moved forward with the release of the saw late last year during the litigation proceedings.

On November 17, 2016 the ITC, after reviewing the legal arguments of both Bosch and SawStop, put the public on notice that it would not review the initial determination by an Administrative Law Judge that ruled Bosch had infringed on two SawStop patents and would review the ALJ’s recommended remedy. On January 27, 2017, after several extensions, the ITC ultimately ruled in favor of SawStop by issuing a Limited Exclusion Order to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and a Cease and Desist Order to Bosch. The Commission, coming to this conclusion after “having reviewed the record in this investigation, including the written submissions of the parties,”[2] makes these decisions based on public policy: public health and welfare, competitive conditions in the United States economy, competitive production, the United States consumer, and foreign relations.

The decision of the ITC will now move to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), as delegated by the President, who must approve or disapprove the ITC’s final decision in sixty (60) days. The USTR rarely goes against the ITC, having disapproved of the ITC’s determination once in nearly 30 years. During this sixty (60) day period the REAXX saws will most likely still be on sale, as Bosch is allowed to import and sell the saw and cartridges under bond which the ITC set at 0%.

What the Ruling Means for You
According to the Cease and Desist order the expiration of the REAXX ban will be February 1, 2022. We spoke to Bosch to clear up a misconception some may have in the industry that the cartridges will not be available due to the ITC ruling; that is not the case. Owners of REAXX table saws will still be able to purchase cartridges and have their saws serviced indefinitely because the cartridges are produced in the U.S. - so if you own one, or are thinking of buying one within the 60 day period, you are safe to continue using it and purchase one without worry that it will eventually become inoperable or obsolete.

Here's Bosch's official response regarding the ruling:

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. is disappointed with the ITC’s decision. We are now in the 60-day presidential review period, in which we hope the president will review the facts of the case and then veto this exclusion order.

Bosch maintains that development of its professional table saw product respects other companies’ patents and represents a new and unique technology in the construction market. It is disappointing that a competitor is continuing its campaign to stop the sale of REAXX technology to consumers.

We believe that advanced REAXX safety technology does not violate any competitor’s intellectual property rights. The patents asserted against REAXX are based on applications filed more than 15 years ago; Bosch does not believe they apply to REAXX technology. In addition, Bosch believes that if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had complete information, it would not have issued certain patents in the first place.

It is our firm belief that the development, marketing and distribution of the REAXX Jobsite Table Saw is completely separate and distinct from anything other brands or manufacturers are doing.

At Bosch, safety is a priority. We will work to defend consumers’ rights to buy our products.

Neil L. Wilcove is a partner at Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP and Chair of the Construction Law and Commercial Litigation practice groups in which he represents contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers, and sureties. He handles payment disputes, delay claims, and construction and design defect cases. Mr. Wilcove also assists his clients in negotiating and drafting construction contracts.

Daniel A. Nicholson is an associate attorney at Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP (Accepted to the New York Bar, Pending Acceptance to the Georgia Bar) practicing Construction Law in Atlanta, GA.

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[2] Issuance of A Limited Exclusion Order and a cease and Desist Order; Termination of the Investigation. In the matter of Certain Table Saws incorporating Active Injury Mitigation Technology and Components Thereof. United States International Trade Commission, Investigation No. 337-TA-965