What do you call it when an inventor surrounds his invention with 83 patents? Can’t get his invention into production because of the royalties he expects? Goes into business producing the product himself? Gains favorable import tariff legislation by contributing to legislators? Has a hard time selling the too-expensive product to consumers? Then, elbows his way into the market through legislation that mandates use of his invention?
Robert Lang at Popular Woodworking Magazine has done a yeoman’s job of chronicling the entire table saw safety story. His long and complete coverage has been very neutral in tone, probably because he’s a great guy, and is also because he’s clearly interested in providing unbiased information to a broad audience of readers.
Today, Robert tells us that California is on the verge of passing a law that mandates flesh sensing technology on table saws … and the only current producer of such saws is SawStop.
I heartily welcome ANY technology that makes table saws safer. Most woodworkers know how dangerous table saws are, and far too many suffer injuries with them. The SawStop technology certainly makes table saws safer. Yet, I can not stand quietly by while aggressive use of patent law, failed attempts at rational technology adoption, and outright CRONYISM gives one company a government sanctioned monopoly.
My suggestion is to require that any such legislation also include language that requires product availability from 5 or more firms before the law can be enforced.