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GMG Responds to Traeger Lawsuit on Cloud Connected Grills/WiFi

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    GMG Responds to Traeger Lawsuit on Cloud Connected Grills/WiFi

    https://greenmountaingrills.com/gmgresponse/

    Nice legal team at GMG!

    What a terrible company Traeger is....

    #2
    Nicely done. The patent system is broken, too. The idea of using a wireless connect from a phone to something to get information from that thing and to control is is pretty obvious and (IMO, not a lawyer) opinion, patents should be issued for non-obvious things.

    Comment


      #3
      Not 100% up to speed on legal terms, but this feels like a sick burn... "GMG admits the assertion of the first sentence that Traeger is a grill manufacturer, but denies that Traeger is an “innovative” grill manufacturer."

      And also I think it's funny how GMG uses a statement from MAK at a 2015 tradeshow to prove the above...

      And I read the whole dang thing, I think I have a problem... but if I'm ever on Jeopardy and this comes up...!

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll take Pooping Sawdust for $1000

      #4
      This response to the Traeger lawsuit is encouraging, but also dealing with subject matter that hits close to home. I was involved as a defendant in not one, but two similar patent infringement lawsuit that GMG is dealing with, against my former employer. The inventions that were claimed to infringe were in fact things we TRIED to patent back around 2008-2009, but were told by the patent office examiner were too obvious to be patentable. After we were on the market, two other entities succeeded in getting patents for the same basic thing, with some modifications involving aspects we never thought of. And NEITHER of these entities ever actually produced or marketed their patented invention.

      It's all a lesson in how getting a patent rammed through the USPTO has a lot to do with luck in getting a reasonable examiner assigned to your case.

      Regardless, after years in lawsuits against these two patent trolls, my employer, despite the fact that they were technical RIGHT in fighting the lawsuits, ended up settling by buying both patents, to make the constant legal barrage and distraction go away. My experience in court and in depositions are that it is HARD to argue technical claims of a scientific and engineering nature with judges, lawyers and juries with no technical background.

      I sure hope that GMG wins this against Traeger, but am afraid it won't go away any time soon.

      Comment


        #5
        Traeger sued Danson's (Pit Boss, LA Grills, A-Maze-N, . . .) for hiring ol' Joe Traeger and his son. Seems like they like to sue folks!

        They must have a covey of lawyers on retainer with nothing to do.

        Comment


        • JimLinebarger
          JimLinebarger commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by Alphonse View Post
          They must have a covey of lawyers on retainer with nothing to do.
          Or at least with nothing valid to say.
          Just another thing to make me pissed I bought a Traeger.
          Last edited by JimLinebarger; February 17, 2021, 04:26 PM.

        #6
        Sorry this is a bit of a rant. Before I dive in, Just FYI, BBQ Central on 2/9, Greg and Meathead did talk about this some.

        As for Traegers past lawsuits, I completely understand the premise of Traeger V. Danson's, Joe Traeger, and Brian Traeger. The purchaser of Traeger Grills paid big money for the Traeger name, reputation and intellectual property from being the only game in town for 20 years (outside of Cookshack which really didn't seem to try to compete directly with Traeger). I don't think I agree with selling your soul to the devil, then trying to come back and compete directly against what you just sold. If Joe and Brian were making pellet griddles or pellet popcorn makers or something, maybe that would be a different story, but with Danson's it appears they're trying to work on stuff they should have just kept the company they already had to develop. This situation also seems to create a perfect case for not starting a business with your own last name, so you're not necessarily selling yourself if you sell the company down the road.

        However, this WiFi lawsuit seems completely different. I'm not skilled at researching company financial information, but several estimates I could find are that Traeger has surpassed 100 million a year in sales. They've proven to be very good marketing and selling lots of accessories and sauces and rubs, but they don't really appear that great at ongoing grill innovation. I think they thought they could ride it out forever like it was a basic kettle grill. Everyone else has jumped way out ahead of them as far as new features and Traeger is just finally catching back up to the pack on.

        So, I see it as Traeger playing dirty since they are afraid they cannot beat people on the merits of their products alone when people start learning about the other brands. GMG was likely the first target because GMG is probably the next brand that you actually might see at a local dealer and GMG is pretty small. You see Traeger everywhere, and GMG was the next most seen brand for a long time (though I think Pit Boss have moved into more heavy traffic stores in the past 1-2 years than GMG). Traeger grills are decent grills, but when compared to a lot of others in their 'class' they are often considerably more expensive, usually have fewer features, and are often built less solid.

        When I try to find sales revenue info on GMG, I get estimates from 1-17 million per year, so like others have mentioned regarding this, it's definitely appearing like the goal is to put financial pressure on them by requiring them to have to sink a lot of money into lawyers to fight against it. Traeger probably has little to gain to bottom dollar from if they flat out win quickly and get royalties. It could be hard to put a value of what is essentially one small feature on an expensive product with many other features too. Their goal is likely trying to get WiFi removed from all other pellet grills so they have the key feature they think would be the most important differentiator moving. They must think everyone will absolutely want it, so if they are the only ones with it, customers will buy their grills over the others that are actually better grills. Basically, trying to build the WiFi pooper monopoly like they had before with their pellet grill design patents.

        I wonder what Weber's pockets are like? Being a private holding, the estimates I find for them are crazy differing. I see anything from 200 million/year to 1.3+ Billion in 2020. I guess Doug Sheiding was sharing in the BBQ Central Show chat when Meathead and Rempe were discussing it that he had reason to believe that Traeger was close to Weber in revenues, I don't know if I see that. Sure you see Traeger in a lot of places and in a lot of the same places you see Weber. However, you see Weber in even more places with 10 times the product offerings as Traeger.

        Anyway, I'll stop rambling now I guess...I just find this case infuriating and am developing a deep disgust for Traeger (a brand I've really loved for a decade) based upon the cards I've seen played.
        Last edited by glitchy; February 17, 2021, 04:14 PM. Reason: Fixing a typo and splitting a sentence for better readability

        Comment


        • Alphonse
          Alphonse commented
          Editing a comment
          hogdog6, I saw it in a news article when researching this topic. I think it comes from him being a member of the BYUMarriott School of Business Founders Board. He was educated at BYU and then went to Harvard for his MBA. He lives in Salt Lake and relocated Traeger there after he, the Barish family, and Trilantic acquired it. It apparently ruffled some feathers when he severed the majority of the Oregon employees as part of the relocation.

        • hogdog6
          hogdog6 commented
          Editing a comment
          Alphonse thanks for the definition.

        • fracmeister
          fracmeister commented
          Editing a comment
          As another Mormon (we prefer the full name of the Church but let's not do the religion thing) I will say that the BYUY to Harvard MBA train is surprisingly full of very bright people who go on to succeed in business ventures. I know nothing of these individuals, their exploits etc. I have a Yoder pellet grill for full disclosure... I did enjoy reading the GMG responses as I do expert witness work in patents and there is at least one flaw in the GMG response

        #7
        I'm betting Traeger is aiming for royalties because a) it creates a new income stream for them, and b) it forces competitors to increase the price of their products, thus making them less of a value compared to Traeger.

        Still completely terrible.

        Comment


          #8
          This isn't a patent that should have been granted and I'm wondering is someone will move for the USPTO to yank it. AS the reply notes, the idea of cloud connected [THING] isn't new or unique to Traeger or even to grills.

          Comment


          • Andrrr
            Andrrr commented
            Editing a comment
            Exactly. If it is then they should probably go after Ford because I've been able to start/stop, lock/unlock, get system updates and run vehicle health reports from my phone for years now.

          #9
          I enjoy reading this sort of thing. It makes me feel like I know something. I don’t know anything, but the feeling is nice.

          There is a fairly well known David/Goliath legal exchange from a dozen or so years ago. It is worth every second to read the whole thing.

          http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/

          Comment


          • SmokingPat
            SmokingPat commented
            Editing a comment
            "Not only am I unintimidated my litigation; I sometimes rather miss it." -- Kurt Denke, Blue Jeans Cable.

          #10
          I'm thinking it's easier to Grant a patent rather than have to explain why you wouldn't Grant one.

          Seriously, years ago in a certain industry they were handing out patents left and right, many of which shouldn't have been granted. They told the companies just to battle it out in the courts. Needless to say certain items in that industry saw their prices go up precipitously.

          Comment


            #11
            And it all becomes clear! Traeger is setting itself up for a IPO or sale!

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/22/b...rich-list.html

            Exclusive: Traeger fires up a sale


            The high-end grill maker has interviewed investment banks in recent weeks for what could be either a sale or an I.P.O., DealBook hears. Traeger, which has about $160 million in operating earnings, is growing quickly: Sales rose more than 20 percent last year. The company is hoping for a valuation that tops $3 billion, which may be too high for a buyer but could match public market appetite. The private equity firm AEA Investors, which acquired control of Traeger in 2017 for an undisclosed amount, declined to comment.

            Grill sales soared during the pandemic,as people stuck at home lit up the barbecue. Traeger’s wood-pellet-fueled grills can run into the thousands of dollars and come outfitted with Wi-Fi (“WiFire”) technology to adjust heat settings from a smartphone. At-home grilling could slow as economies reopen and people spend less time at home, but in that case, Traeger also sells accessories and grills made for travel.

            Traeger is the latest company looking to capitalize on a pandemic bump, testing the lofty premiums that investors are willing to fork out. McCormick paid $800 million to buy Cholula hot sauce as home cooking pushed spice sales, and Hormel paid $3.35 billion to buy Kraft Heinz’s once stalled Planters business as consumers sought comfort foods. Shares of Yeti, a maker of fancy coolers, have more than doubled over the past year, giving it a market capitalization of $6.5 billion.

            Comment


            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              Ha, but no.

              TJNK would probably work (4 letters only for Nasdaq), but for some reason, I don't think the company would want that ticker.

            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              TRSH?

            • SmokingPat
              SmokingPat commented
              Editing a comment
              "Shares of Yeti, a maker of fancy coolers, have more than doubled over the past year ..."
              I know my purchases of Yeti have more than doubled over the past year. Yeti Imperial Stout, that is. Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver.

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