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Festool Domino patents and IP

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Eric The Viking

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I've read that Festool's patents expire soon on the Domino system. It's just about plausible, as the machines first appeared in 2007-ish, but the implication is they took ages in development, which isn't all that credible. There are many novel features of the Domino that set it apart from other loose tenon systems, so it's possible that it took a while, but things like movable fences and plunge action are long established, and so probably prior art (i.e. not patentable), and development on those wouldn't have been very long-winded (alignment pins notwithstanding!).

There is a Wikipedia page, but it's not very helpful. Can any of the people on here who are a bit closer to Festool shed any light on the matter?

My interest is from a marketing perspective mainly - how might Festool approach competitor products, etc.

TIA,

E.
 

Noel

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Domino came to market in 2005 I think (I used one then).
Regarding patents usually 20 years but of course various updates can be lodged during the life of the patent (which doesn't extend the patent but does protect more detailed applications). The Fein Multimaster came out in '87/88 and the patent expired in 2008, far as I recall.
 

Eric The Viking

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Thanks Noel.

I assumed that the patents were quite a bit earlier than that (to allow for protection in the development process). But it also shows you can't trust Wikipedia (it says 2007 for the launch of the Domino, however that might be the American market (Americentricity!)).

Reasonable, then, to assume the initial patents date from somewhere after 2000, although not long after that, so I suppose speculation about end of patent protection isn't too far off.
 

novocaine

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If you can figure out what is actually patented on the tool then check espacenet. festool is owned by TTS so it might be under that.
not sure if the patents are listed in the manual or not.
 

porker

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Some details here - Festool Patent
It looks like it was filed 2003 / 4. I'm not holding my breath for cheaper alternatives any time soon. I think for the tolerances this machine needs, it will be expensive in any guise.
 

Rorschach

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It's a bit on specialist side too. I wouldn't think there is an awful lot of DIY demand for this type of tool unlike the Fein mentioned earlier. A domino is only useful to someone building bespoke cabinets/furniture, it serves no other DIY purpose.
 

Doug71

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Just checked my domino, manufactured 2006, can't believe I have had it that long!

As others have said can't see anybody copying domino as it is quite specialist and tricky to engineer, even Festool had problems with vibration at the start.

Guess a good comparison is the Mafell duo doweller, as far as I know only Triton have tried copying that and not very well from what I am led to believe.
 

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I don't know anything about Festool patents, but Lamello (their factory just down the road from me) say in their blurbs that they first "invented" biscuits (the oval thingies) and loose tenons (or at least the machines to make them) during WWII. I don't know how true that is though - purely at a guess I'd have thought that at the least the idea of loose tenons (if not a machine) has been around since JC was doing his apprenticeship in Nazareth!
 

Eric The Viking

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I think Porker found it. I didn't realise Google had a patent search site!

I knew they had had trouble with the locating pin arrangement on the original Domino 500 (my 700 has flip-down stops instead) - it seems to have been covered in a Black and Decker patent of the 1970s!

OK, skim-reading it: Festool seem to have focused on their minimal-vibration approach (for more precise holes). There are other oscillating-drill patents they reference as prior art, but in a manufacturing machine context.

One has to assume the Domino is beyond easy imitation, and it's not worthwhile for the other makers to bring out a similar system - easier to have their own models ready-to-go for when the patent expires.

I fully take Rorschach's the point about it being a "niche product," too. But the market was swamped with biscuit joiners after Lamello's patent expired, probably to no good purpose as all it really did was to reduce the quality and profit margins. Dominoes strike me as being an all-round better alternative - two axes of alignment control rather than one, for a start. So we'll see.

The dual doweller is an interesting comparison, but I doubt that, unlike the Domino, the basic concept of the Mafell machine was patentable (multi-borers have been around for many decades in industry, probably more than a century). And the Triton machine seems to illustrate that cost-reduction can remove much of the utility - dowelling needs precision in three axes!

Anyway, if anything does happen on the Domino front, it looks like 2023-24 is the time.

Cheers, E.
 
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Given how well it has sold, I would have thought other companies have been designing a competitor for several years, just waiting for the patent to run out.

However, I doubt it will be that much cheaper. Just look at the Bosch/Dewalt track saws. They're not that much cheaper than Festool
 

Noel

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transatlantic":1sk3x8vx said:
Given how well it has sold, I would have thought other companies have been designing a competitor for several years, just waiting for the patent to run out.

However, I doubt it will be that much cheaper. Just look at the Bosch/Dewalt track saws. They're not that much cheaper than Festool
In situations like this the price point is pushed as near to Festool as the manufacturer thinks the market will bear but at a figure that will reflect the quality perception of the manufacturer (Makita, Dewalt etc) and temp buyers away from Festool.
 

Bodgers

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Eric The Viking":37nf845y said:
I've read that Festool's patents expire soon on the Domino system. It's just about plausible, as the machines first appeared in 2007-ish, but the implication is they took ages in development, which isn't all that credible. There are many novel features of the Domino that set it apart from other loose tenon systems, so it's possible that it took a while, but things like movable fences and plunge action are long established, and so probably prior art (i.e. not patentable), and development on those wouldn't have been very long-winded (alignment pins notwithstanding!).

There is a Wikipedia page, but it's not very helpful. Can any of the people on here who are a bit closer to Festool shed any light on the matter?

My interest is from a marketing perspective mainly - how might Festool approach competitor products, etc.

TIA,

E.
Even if it did, I doubt we'd see budget Domino's that have the same repeatability and reliability.

The duo doweller machines are classic example of this. The copy cats are awful.



Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
 

powertools

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IMG_20190523_173539-1008x756.jpg

First thing that I would say is that I am not a brand name fan boy I just want tools that do the job, some have been expensive and some not so.
A few years ago I was in B&Q and they had on sale what they called a dowel joiner I think it was about £30 so I got one, when I got home I tried it out and was that impressed the next day I went back and got another one I now have one set up for 8mm dowels and the other set up for 10mm dowels.
If these tools had been in the several £100 price range I would have not got one.
I think that the moral of my story is that you can't just judge the quality of a tool by it's price or it's brand name.
 

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Bodgers

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powertools":12g0nrpg said:

First thing that I would say is that I am not a brand name fan boy I just want tools that do the job, some have been expensive and some not so.
A few years ago I was in B&Q and they had on sale what they called a dowel joiner I think it was about £30 so I got one, when I got home I tried it out and was that impressed the next day I went back and got another one I now have one set up for 8mm dowels and the other set up for 10mm dowels.
If these tools had been in the several £100 price range I would have not got one.
I think that the moral of my story is that you can't just judge the quality of a tool by it's price or it's brand name.
I bought one of these a few years back.

It was truly awful.

The fence just isn't consistent. And using it with the fence is the only option given its restricted design. It was actually faster and more accurate to use dowel pins.

I was so disappointed I went nuts and bought a Domino. Night and day better.

The Triton has the same problem.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen anyone say anything good about these, so you must have struck gold with the units you have
 

Doug71

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Bodgers":ppejfcyj said:
powertools":ppejfcyj said:

First thing that I would say is that I am not a brand name fan boy I just want tools that do the job, some have been expensive and some not so.
A few years ago I was in B&Q and they had on sale what they called a dowel joiner I think it was about £30 so I got one, when I got home I tried it out and was that impressed the next day I went back and got another one I now have one set up for 8mm dowels and the other set up for 10mm dowels.
If these tools had been in the several £100 price range I would have not got one.
I think that the moral of my story is that you can't just judge the quality of a tool by it's price or it's brand name.
I bought one of these a few years back.

It was truly awful.

The fence just isn't consistent. And using it with the fence is the only option given its restricted design. It was actually faster and more accurate to use dowel pins.

I was so disappointed I went nuts and bought a Domino. Night and day better.

The Triton has the same problem.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen anyone say anything good about these, so you must have struck gold with the units you have
I didn't have the dowel jointer but had their equivalent biscuit jointer, looked just the same. It was practically unusable, it was impossible to tighten the fence enough with the little orange knobs and it didn't cut the slots parallel. The one thing it did do was make me see the potential of a biscuit jointer. Being a tool snob I was going to replace it with a Lamello but then realised I could get a Domino for the same money and never looked back.
 

powertools

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Bodgers":3c8kesbi said:
powertools":3c8kesbi said:

First thing that I would say is that I am not a brand name fan boy I just want tools that do the job, some have been expensive and some not so.
A few years ago I was in B&Q and they had on sale what they called a dowel joiner I think it was about £30 so I got one, when I got home I tried it out and was that impressed the next day I went back and got another one I now have one set up for 8mm dowels and the other set up for 10mm dowels.
If these tools had been in the several £100 price range I would have not got one.
I think that the moral of my story is that you can't just judge the quality of a tool by it's price or it's brand name.




I bought one of these a few years back.


Having read your less than glowing report of the cheap dowel joiner I have re looked at mine with a more critical eye and I would still say that although it could be improved in a cosmetic way it is accurate and does the job.

It was truly awful.

The fence just isn't consistent. And using it with the fence is the only option given its restricted design. It was actually faster and more accurate to use dowel pins.

I was so disappointed I went nuts and bought a Domino. Night and day better.

The Triton has the same problem.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen anyone say anything good about these, so you must have struck gold with the units you have
 
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