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Specialized wheels are about to get faster, thanks to HED - VeloNews.com

Apparently the patent revolves around using the tire-wheel interface to improve aerodynamics. So it's my understanding that any wheel where the brake track angles in towards the tire is covered by the patent.

The big guys like Specialized can probably afford to license the patent, but I hope it doesn't mean trouble for smaller rim designers like Boyd, Flo, November, and others.
 

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The claims define the scope of patent protection. Link to patent.

I am not a fan of the type of claim allowed. The claim is to a rim. I am not sure whether the tire is not a required part of the claimed rim*. But, the rim structure is defined by angles flowing from the combination of the tire and rim. So, one does not know the scope of the patent claim until the tire is mounted - while the claim does not actually require the tire to be present. Claim interpretation nuance.

* Claim 1 says "a tire bed to seat a tire". But, I don't see a positive recitation of a tire on the rim. The claim may be read to implicitly include the tire. However, you know what they say about assume. I think it can be argued that the claim does not require a tire. As such, the claim is broad enough for the patentee to have protection for the rim alone, which equals suing rim manufacturer. OTOH, if one require the combo of the tire and rim, infringement may not occur until the end user installs X tire on the rim. Who would you rather sue - rim manufacturer or each individual cyclist?

PS - the only discussion of a bicycle in the MPEP is a case related to claim indefiniteness when the scope of the claim is based upon an unclaimed and variable object. MPEP 2173.05(b) II. A claim may be rendered indefinite by reference to an object that is variable.
 

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I might be missing something but I'd rather not spend 10 min. adjusting my brakes to save .0000001 watts is a race. (most people who have all out deep race wheels also have another set for training, climbing races, whatever, but if you were just using these and nothing else the brake set up issue would be N/A)
 
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