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  1. #21
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    just because he put down the money for a patent on his ridge line, doesn't make it right for him to keep anyone else from using a ridge line.
    Erm, that's actually precisely what the patent is for. Not agreeing with the broad scope of a patent doesn't invalidate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    and tom doesn't provide the variations in snake skins that every one needs. some people need bigger snake skins that slide over an under quilt & possibly a top quilt. they may need longer skins. some people are experimenting w/ the snake skin made of bug net. but tom doesn't provide those so anyone that doesn't have the DIY skills or hasn't even seen those options (because they haven't found this site) never know about those options.
    I made that same argument(that variations not provided by the original designer should be open) in the recent MacCat thread about patents, and I was universally disagreed with by the respondents. Why is it okay to single out one designer or vendor whose designs are okay to copy, but not another?

    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    if i tried to read those patents i'd be asleep in no time.
    You might want to change your idea about that and put in the effort. His patent is VERY SPECIFIC concerning the ridgeline and what is and isn't patented. The name of the patent filing is actually entitled 'Hammock including a ridge line'.

    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    i'm basing what i say on something they don't seem to be teaching in our "places of higher learning"... common sense & decency.
    So, it's 'decent' for you to dismiss Tom's patent claims without even reading them because you 'would fall asleep'.

    I agree that patents in small niche markets like hammocking can stifle innovation. But, my opinion about that doesn't matter. In this case, Tom really does have a valid argument that is enforceable.
    Last edited by angrysparrow; 05-21-2007 at 21:40.

  2. #22
    Senior Member GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    sleepytime...Ridgeline patent

    From the document itself (emphasis mine)
    CLAIMS:
    1. A hammock (10) comprising a bed (12), including, for adjusting its sag, a ridge line (42) extending in a vertical plane, which plane includes said hammock's longitudinal axis of symmetry, and going through said hammocks ends (20), where it is adapted to be attached individually to suspending ropes (22).

    2. Hammock as defined in claim 1, wherein said ridge line (42) after passing throughout of each of the hammock's folded ends (20) continues as a suspending rope (22)

    3. Hammock as defined in either of claims 1 or 2 wherein for altering its sag, according to individual comfort requirements, the workable length of said ridge line (42) is adjustable by untying one end and it retying again to a shorter or longer length.

    4. Hammock as defined in claim 3, wherein a sag adjustment device (44) is used in combination with a part of said ridge line (42) which is intended as a slacked portion (48), said part of said ridge line being wrapped or unwrapped accordingly around said sag adjustment device, while said ridge line (42) is not under tension, whereby the extension of said slacked portion (48) and consequently, the resulting number of subtracted or added wraps determines the workable length of said ridge line.
    Here's the Figures describing the claimed sag adjustment device :

    Given the specificity of the claim it is not hard to imagine alternative ridgelines, with alternative means of adjustment. However, as has been pointed out already, only a lawsuit will definitively establish whether an alternative ridgeline constitutes infringement.

    the non-lawyer Grizz

  3. #23
    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Speaking of Tom Hennessey, I had a bad experience with him this weekend that I want to share and also had a discussion with him on patents that I was not happy with his response to.

    First I tried to replace a hammock I bought from him that had the Velcro sewn in upside down and he looked at it and said that it was not defective and that he would replace it for $75. Well I gave in and got a new hammock for $75 in exchange for my old hammock, but I really think he should have replaced the hammock. Even though the hammock was not defective it was not my fault that the Velcro was installed wrong by his company. As you can tell I am not happy.

    Second the discussion with him on patents and the Jacks’s R Betters new hammock put me over the edge of how I fell about him. Yes he is trying to corner the market and I can understand that somewhat, but the way he is doing it he stupid. He told me that he patented the ridgeline and the way the patent is written so that anything that controls the ridgeline angle is patented to him. This means that if a hammock has a ridgeline that it is patented to him now matter what. So no one can have a line that connects to the ends of the hammock or a line that goes from one tree or another.

    He also told me that even people that make home made hammocks with ridgelines can be taken to court by him.

    As someone said I think Tom is starting to panic because he is losing his hold on the market.

  4. #24
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    Has Tom actually ever taken anybody to court? Or have his "cease and desist" letters and the prospect of having to shell out legal fees been enough to cow all the cottage gear makers? TH can claim that all ridgelines are patented to him, but getting a court to agree that 1) any and all ridgelines on a hammock are covered by his patent, and 2) his original patent on ridgelines is valid at all, is a whole 'nother matter.

    I certainly don't blame cottage innovators for folding in the face of a litigation nightmare when the fruits of victory would likely be outweighed by legal costs, but I'm not convinced that all of his claims would stand up in court.

    I'd almost like to see one of the big players get into the hammock game. Let TH sue somebody with an in-house legal department.

    So maybe (warning: wild-assed speculation and conspiracy theorizing without a shred of evidence follows) it is to TH's benefit to keep the hammock market small and fringe? Maybe TH is actually actively conspiring against hammocks becoming mainstream because that would inspire lines of Coleman, MSR and Big Agnes hammocks and TH would actually have to go to court?

  5. #25
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seuss View Post
    So maybe (warning: wild-assed speculation and conspiracy theorizing without a shred of evidence follows) it is to TH's benefit to keep the hammock market small and fringe? Maybe TH is actually actively conspiring against hammocks becoming mainstream because that would inspire lines of Coleman, MSR and Big Agnes hammocks and TH would actually have to go to court?
    Or maybe he's involved in negotiations to sell his design/patent to one of those manufacturers and he's protecting it aggressively to maintain the greatest possible value for sale. Then again, maybe not.

  6. #26
    New Member Ramble On's Avatar
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    One thing I haven't seen said, that really should be, which stands before any patent issues is this...

    There is not a single thing that any patent holder can do to stop an individual from even blatently copying a patented idea for their own personal use. This holds for ridge lines, snake skins, bottom entry hammocks, tarp designs, microchips, software processes, or engineering specifications of any size shape or nature.

    I think this discussion has kind of missed that the only people that are affected by patents are those looking to turn a proffit of of a patented idea, Do-It-Yourself projects for personal use in no way fall under the province of U.S. Patent Law.

    I would like to see the Warbonet hammock and some of the others, but personally, I've never been a fan of HH's. My wife on the other hand has been eyeballing them, and if she decides that a HH is what she wants, well then I'm certain that a HH is what she will get. Competition is great for any market. I just hate to see litigation used as a tool to eliminate competition. I'm in no means saying that HH has or hasn't any claims to make in the current market, but we have all seen the threat and cost of litigation used to shut down competition in one field or another.

    Well, I'm jumping the gun here anyway, perhaps we all are to some extent or another. Lets hope this all shakes out in a way that actually promotes hammock camping and healthy competition and in turn brings down some prices. (Personally I think that $359 for a Camo North American with XL Fly is **** High, and I would love to see the price come down... How else, other than healthy competition driving down the price will I be able to convince my wife to let me buy one? )

  7. #27
    New Member Ramble On's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attroll View Post
    So no one can have a line that connects to the ends of the hammock or a line that goes from one tree or another.
    Huh, that is kinda funny, because I was stringing a line above my nylon net hammock and draping a big heavy tarp over it in 1985. I wonder if Tom ever lived on the Delmarva Peninsula and saw me camping in the Poconoke Forest???

    We may have never called it a Ridge Line, but it is still the same concept, and I know I didn't invent it either.

  8. #28
    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramble On View Post
    One thing I haven't seen said, that really should be, which stands before any patent issues is this...

    I think this discussion has kind of missed that the only people that are affected by patents are those looking to turn a proffit of of a patented idea, Do-It-Yourself projects for personal use in no way fall under the province of U.S. Patent Law.
    Yes this was one of the other things I talk to Tom about as I meantioned and him said that individuals are not suppose to be making them either and I told he my opinion on this in a very polite manner and he said it was his patent.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Although it's case by case, I wonder what modifications to an existing patent are required to become a new idea. For example, the Warbonnet hammocks look like an HH from a distance...but up close, you can see that it's a different asym shape, has no ridgeline, has a side-entry zipper, a clever pocket on the side, a different whipping method, and uses different materials. So would that qualify?

    Just speculation, of course. I think the Warbonnet addresses a market niche that Hennessy hasn't responded to yet, and if the Warbonnet stands up to long-term use I think it'll be just as good as the HH. But if Tom can afford better lawyers, that might be enough to keep the Warbonnet from hitting the market (or staying there, at least).
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  10. #30
    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jeff View Post
    Although it's case by case, I wonder what modifications to an existing patent are required to become a new idea. For example, the Warbonnet hammocks look like an HH from a distance...but up close, you can see that it's a different asym shape, has no ridgeline, has a side-entry zipper, a clever pocket on the side, a different whipping method, and uses different materials. So would that qualify?

    Just speculation, of course. I think the Warbonnet addresses a market niche that Hennessy hasn't responded to yet, and if the Warbonnet stands up to long-term use I think it'll be just as good as the HH. But if Tom can afford better lawyers, that might be enough to keep the Warbonnet from hitting the market (or staying there, at least).
    That is funny you should ask because while I was talking to Toms son at Trail Days Tom went down to that booth and told the guy that he was infringing on his copyright.

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