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TrackMan Is Granted US Patent Protection On Measuring The Spin Of A Sports Ball

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  • TrackMan Is Granted US Patent Protection On Measuring The Spin Of A Sports Ball

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued U.S. Patent No. 8,845,442 B2 to Fredrik Tuxen, entitled "Determination of Spin Parameters Of A Sports Ball," which is assigned to TrackMan A/S (hereinafter "TrackMan's U.S. '442 Patent"). TrackMan's U.S. '442 Patent relates to TrackMan's innovative technology for determining the spin parameters of a rotating sports ball, such as a golf ball, in flight.

    TrackMan's U.S. '442 Patent corresponds to and provides coverage which equals if not exceeds TrackMan's European patent, EP 1 698 380 B9, issued to Fredrik Tuxen and entitled "Determination of Spin Parameters Of A Sports Ball" (hereinafter "TrackMan's EP '380 Patent"), which is also assigned to TrackMan A/S.

    Trackman's EP '380 Patent formed the basis for a legal ruling in favor of TrackMan A/S on May 7, 2013, in conjunction with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by TrackMan A/S at the District Court of Düsseldorf in Germany against MIA Sports Technology Ltd. (MIA), based on MIA's distribution and sale of FlightScope's golf tracking radar model "X2" (including its software version (5.8)). The ruling of the District Court of Düsseldorf has been appealed by MIA, and the decision in the appeal case is expected during the spring of 2015.

    MIA has also initiated a nullification action against TrackMan's EP '380 Patent, but TrackMan remains confident that the patentability of its spin measurement technology will be confirmed.
    "We are very pleased to have obtained US patent protection of our spin measurement technology", says Klaus Eldrup-Jørgensen, CEO and co-founder of TrackMan A/S.

    "While we consider the successful prosecution of this patent in the US to be of strategic importance in itself, it also reinforces our expectation that the Federal Court in Germany will confirm the patentability of this technology", Klaus Eldrup-Jørgensen adds.

    Besides Germany and the United States, TrackMan has been granted corresponding patents in the UK, France, China, South Korea and Japan.

    A valid patent may generally be enforced against a party who manufactures, sells or makes commercial use of a product which infringes the patent in the relevant jurisdiction.

  • #2
    Is this bad news for FlightScope?

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    • #3
      I don't see it as a positive thing for Flightscope. It might range from nuisance to an onerous condition for Flightscope. I suspect that there are many legal issues/battles to be encountered and the associated legal fees. I feel that ultimately, it is the consumer that will burden the expense, either by increased fees to Flightscope or Trackman monopolizing that end of the market.

      Frank Hann
      Engineered Golf

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Zmax View Post
        Is this bad news for FlightScope?


        Yes, bad for Flightscope, how bad is the outstanding question... This can end in a couple of ways... A one time monetary settlement... An ongoing monetary settlement where Trackman takes a cut of FS's sales, or an all out cease and desist of the sales of FS. That last part is unlikely as FS probably isn't damaging TM too much at all... Totally different clientele really. I suspect FS's profits are about to take a hit.

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        • #5
          Ouch, that sucks for FS. And not good for consumers at all. I wonder how much of their businesses(FS and TM) are being impacted by SkyTrak, if any.

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          • #6
            Seems like Sky Trak is likely to cut in on FS's business. The reality is that you aren't seriously considering TM if price is a consideration. If you have the disposable cash, TM is hands down the choice to make. More frugal folks like myself are trying to weigh cost vs benefit so you start looking at 2nd and third tier options. TM is just a dream for folks like me. Pulling the trigger on the GC2 was enough. Sky Trak has everyone's attention but there's no substance there yet. In the end FS could be in serious trouble due to the pressure from ST and the hit from TM... It may be too much.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JV17 View Post
              The reality is that you aren't seriously considering TM if price is a consideration. If you have the disposable cash, TM is hands down the choice to make. More frugal folks like myself are trying to weigh cost vs benefit so you start looking at 2nd and third tier options.
              I was wondering why you believe that Trackman is the hands down choice to make as the ulimate launch monitor? Is it due to the better marketing campaign that TM has established?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fhann View Post

                I was wondering why you believe that Trackman is the hands down choice to make as the ulimate launch monitor? Is it due to the better marketing campaign that TM has established?
                There is no doubt that marketing is driving this.

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                • #9
                  It will be interesting to see how TM plays this out after the appeal. FS has proven that a sensor can be built and sold for a profit at the sub 3K price point. The Xi, Xi+ and X2 are functionally all the same and only restricted by software application. If TM wants to make this a monopoly and keep radars a thing for fitters/pros/instructors than they will push to eliminate FS from the market and continue to charge 20K+ for their products. If they want an "every mans" trackman it could be done...

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                  • #10
                    I guess the other option TM would buy out FS and get the in lower end market and keep or shut it down depends on what happens in the patent case

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fhann View Post

                      I was wondering why you believe that Trackman is the hands down choice to make as the ulimate launch monitor? Is it due to the better marketing campaign that TM has established?
                      I don't know guys... I understand that marketing can weigh heavily on perception, but that's not what makes me put TM at the top as I know marketing spin when I see it. There is one main reason I place TM at the top... Accuracy... In all but 1 test I've seen, TM comes out ahead. TM claims to be the most accurate LM out there. No one disputes this, except in the case of ForeSight's GC2 claiming to be the most accurate "indoor" LM. Now if there weren't clear cut data to prove otherwise, you'd better believe everyone else would make claims to be the most accurate LM. That in itself is proof enough for me. The other major factor in LM rankings would be ecosystem. The amount of data you can get from your LM and your ability to use it in a simulator environment. Since TM does very well there too, it makes sense to me that they are still the top dog. That said, others are getting closer. It's only a matter of time before others outpace TM's ecosystem by so much, that the difference in accuracy is meaningless. This may not matter to TM at all, because their business model isn't really simulation as much as it is accurate data and granularity of feedback. That's where Mxwoodman's great point comes in. Does TM address the lower end retail market through the FlightScope ruling.

                      We all have our own opion on what's best, and now you know where I'm coming from when I say TM. Having used TM numerous times I can say that its fantastic from top to bottom, however the price point didn't make it worth it to even consider for what seems like marginal gains.

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                      • #12
                        Hi JV17:

                        Have you had a chance to personally test the Trackman against the Flightscope X2?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I
                          Originally posted by fhann View Post
                          Hi JV17:

                          Have you had a chance to personally test the Trackman against the Flightscope X2?
                          Hey Fhann,

                          I have not personally compared the two but I have seen comparisons done in which Trackman always came out on top. In fact I remember reading an article from a long time supporter of Flightscope who was very disappointed when he compared his FS X2 to a TM. He no longer uses Flightscope after seeing the numbers first hand. There's a reason Flightscope doesn't claim to have the most accurate launch monitor. I'll try to find the comparison article for you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's the article I mentioned...


                            http://www.rotaryswing.com/golf-less...2-2013-review/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi JV17:

                              Thanks for replying, and sending me Chuck Quinton's review, dated November 2013.

                              I myself have not had the opportunity to compare the Flightscope X2 with a Trackman IIIe. I would like to have that experience.

                              I don't have access to a robot hitting machine. That is the only way to be able to properly compare the units directly with one another, since the units cannot be used together, in a side by side comparison configuration. Each need to be positioned directly down the target line and would physically interfere with one another if done so. This is the error that was neglected in Chuck Quinton's flawed side by side test between the Trackman and Flightscope units. By independently testing with a robot, under the same environmental conditions, only then can a proper direct test of the two units can be validated. After this article was written, many other readers of the article also noticed the error in the testing procedure and commented on many forums about the innccurate test.

                              Flightscope have updated their software/firmware and have resolved the error with the angle of attack issue that was in place during 2011. I upgraded to an X2 in February 2012 and have been pleased that I did so. Yes, the X2 is larger than the Trackman IIIe - the batteries in the X2 hold a longer charge.

                              One thing to note, is that Flightscope and Trackman units measure the angle of attack from different reference points, such that Flightscope will read the angle of attack at 2 degrees steeper than Trackman and I always keep that in the back of my mind when comparing that metric between the two.

                              After upgrading the software, you should be aware, that the many of the same reviewers, have complemented the accuracy of the Flightscope. See John Graham's later reviews regarding the Flightscope X2.

                              I have put the X2 through quite rigorous testing, on the range, on the golf course and indoors. I have found it to be outstanding when measuring landing points outside, as I have compared its data to laser and GPS measurements using a forecaddie that marked the landing points. I am also extremely pleased with the output data that I receive when indoors. Myself, and many of my clients, have made comments that the carry distance recorded indoors collaborates nearly exactly to windless, outdoor conditions that they have seen shortly after going through testing/fitting/training sessions.

                              Both Michael Breed and Martin Hall have, and continue to use the X2 unit. I am sure that they like the unit well enough not to have switched to the Trackman.

                              I like the Acceleration graphing feature of the X2 because it can really identify a well fitting shaft profile when testing different shafts. A very distinct shape of the graph has been identified as being important feature along with laying down the same shape of acceleration curves upon each other. Trackman III3 does not have that feature.

                              There are features that I admire in the Trackman IIIe unit that I would like to be able to have on the X2. I like TM's video capture window of the golf swing outlining the trace of the shot, i.e. like the "Shot Tracer" feature that we see on television. I also admire the 3 foot shorter footprint for the minimum distance required within an indoor environment that Trackman IIIe outlines in their specification.

                              I don't think that it is right that Trackman charges an extra $10,000 dollars to unlock the capability that is built in to all of their units to have both indoor and outdoor functions become operational. However, Flightscope uses the same thinking, when they charge nearly $3000 more for the Xi+ as compared to the Xi. Those 2 Flightscope machines are the same physical unit, that physically capture the same data, but the consumer pays a hefty premium for a software enhancement that allows reporting more of that very same recorded data that Flightscope then markets as an Xi+ machine.

                              I would welcome the opportunity to be able to use and assess a Trackman IIIe launch monitor for a couple of days. I am sure that I would be impressed and pleased. I would have to give it a great deal of thought though to be comfortable in spending the big difference in price between 2 units, if I were ever to switch. If I switched, then I would truly feel that the Trackman was worth the premium.

                              I know, that the public perception, is that the Trackman is the benchmark machine. That in itself, goes a long way in trying to market ones clubfitting business to the public.
                              Last edited by fhann; 01-26-2015, 03:33 AM.

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