Dave Weagle Sues Giant for Patent Infringement 42

It's no secret that Giant's Maestro suspension system looks very similar to the DW-Link (notably of Iron Horse Sunday fame) developed by Dave Weagle. Weagle, after having apparently extensively negotiated with Giant regarding potential licensing of his technology, and even entering a Joint Development Agreement to create a new version of the Maestro platform together with Giant, has now filed a lawsuit against Giant (both Giant Taiwan and its wholly owned subsidiary Giant USA) for patent infringement as well as for breaking the terms of the aforementioned JDA.

DW Link vs Giant Glory

Consulting the text of the lawsuit (the full version is available HERE, if you have trouble falling asleep at night), it appears that Weagle is making a case for infringement of several patents, following him showing early prototypes of his work to Giant representatives in 2004. The text also describes how Giant and Weagle subsequently negotiated a Joint Development Agreement for the creation of a "G+" suspension system for Giant, an agreement which Weagle now claims Giant have failed to honor.

Looking at the drawings and the patent text, it's hard to see how this trial could be anything but a foregone conclusion, but as we all know, things are rarely that straightforward in the judicial system. We'll just have to wait and see - stay tuned!


Update: In a letter sent to retailers in early May, Giant responded to the lawsuit, vowing to defend against the patent infringement allegations. The text of that letter is below.

GIANT'S RESPONSE TO DW-LINK LAWSUIT

To our valued Giant retailers,

Earlier this week, several consumer cycling Web sites reported on the patent infringement litigation between dw-link/Dave Weagle and Giant involving the Maestro Suspension design. Below is Giant’s official response to this matter:

Giant vigorously disputes and intends to aggressively defend against the patent infringement allegations contained in the lawsuit recently filed by dw- link. Maestro Suspension is a Giant proprietary design, and our retailers can continue to sell Maestro-equipped mountain bikes with confidence.

Giant will continue to focus on developing world-leading technologies to help you grow your business and provide a superior cycling experience for riders worldwide.

We greatly appreciate your support and business.

-- GIANT RETAILER SUPPORT

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42 comments
  • si

    5/5/2013 3:35 PM

    how many small companies where the pioneers of mtb - turner - santa cruz - yeti - foes - intense and few canadian ones and list goes on and these small company's ain't rolling around in cash
    big companies have made big bucks full stop
    i recall few posts back comment "why buy a turner tzar when giant is half the price"
    how this pans out will be interesting - music industry pays royalties to artist !

  • Randy_Geniec

    5/5/2013 1:10 PM

    Going for the big pockets.

  • taldfind

    5/5/2013 12:59 PM

    Man, I like all the DW bikes I have ridden, but this guy seems to be going after everybody. And after each suspension design has been around for years too. Maybe he should have sued them earlier? I'm also curious how the trek case is going as I have never seen any updates on it.

  • scarface

    5/5/2013 1:08 PM

    So a guy invents a completely new suspension system, files and gets patents on it, then some company steals his work and decides to string him along for years while pretending to negotiate around licensing the design, until the point where he's had it and decides to sue. And not only that, it happens AGAIN with ANOTHER design...and now somehow, this is actually his fault and he's a loser for complaining? You're saying he should NOT go after "everybody" who steals his work???

  • Nobble

    5/5/2013 2:38 PM

    If you actually new anything about suspension designs you would understand that maestro is very different from DW link, the virtual pivot locations are totally different and the wheel paths are different. Weagle appears to be hoping to win in court based on the fact that they look similar.

    Also, you claim trek stole split pivot... trek has been using ABP for years. well before the split pivot was even thought of.

    personally I am sick of Dave Weagle and his bullshit patent trolling.

  • peewho

    5/5/2013 4:16 PM

    actually.. you "nobble" have NO idea what you're talking about. he met with both of them before the ABP and Maestro where designed. information was exchanged, NDA's where signed and both Trek and Giant "STOLE" his his DW Link and Split Pivot respectively. he will win both court cases.

  • general lee

    5/5/2013 6:31 PM

    Patent trolling? The man owns the patents and is defending himself against what he feels is theft from the largest bike company in the world. Good for him.

    Sure the lawsuit (which it appears you likely didn't read) is the DW vesrsion of events as it should be, but one does not wisely take giant (and Trek) to court without a solid case. Patent trolling? Really? When was the last time you saw a US brand make a non-Specialized licensed FSR bike and get away with it? Do you think Giant would have let DW get away with the Sunday if they owned a patent that was even remotely similar? Love him or hate him, Dave brought some much needed innovation and a fresh perspective to mtb component and susp design that was immediately copied or used as 'inspiration' for new ideas. Glad to see he's going to get his day in court.

  • Roll X

    5/5/2013 8:15 PM

    But giant engaged his company and has not payed him for the work his done . It look like giant has strung DW the company along , depleted there resources and cash trying to put them into a position were they are not able to take legal action .

  • taldfind

    5/5/2013 6:21 PM

    I'm not saying that he doesn't have a legitimate cause to sue, it's more that I just don't know. Based on the little info I've seen, the timing seems to be off. If I had tried to get licensing for a design I made, and then the company went ahead and started producing my design before the license negotiations were finalized, I would have gone after them right then, not 9 years later. After all, if it is your patented design, legally you own all rights to producing it. Why let a company make illegitimate money off of your hard work for so long? Why not work at stopping it the moment it starts? It's the lack of answers to those questions that make me wonder if Dave Weagle is just "trolling." So in a nutshell, I'm not sure that he actually has a case. If he does, then I really hope he nails those thieves. But if there is no patent violation, I kinda hope he gets nailed for defaming the names of those company.

  • bturman

    5/5/2013 6:47 PM

    Please read the suit before typing anymore. It answers all of your questions and assumptions

  • general lee

    5/5/2013 6:59 PM

    Read? Can't I just figure it out from looking at the pictures?

  • Roll X

    5/5/2013 8:10 PM

    Spot on mate , like others i just hope he has enough cash behind him to see the case through . I also hope that the jury has the wisdom to see justice . A loss for DW on this scale would be life ruining .

  • scarface

    5/5/2013 12:54 PM

    Well duh. I told Weagle he should have used me an my liddel friend for the negotiations with the Giant.
    Oh and Trek, how 'bout coughing up for the Split Pivot you stole as well?

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