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Old 10-11-2011, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Dr. Hensel, PVI Cyber-9000, SP & WDP patent battle history

I go to college at RIT, and study mechanical engineering (swithing out in a few days unfortunately). Anyways, the dean of the Mech E department is Ed Hensel.

For those of you who don't know who he is, do a little research on the PVI Cyber-900.

Anyways he has one of, possibly the original, prototypes in his basement. I've actually talked to him about it at one point. Nice guy and I had a few classes with his son.

Just thought I'd share with the rest of you.

Here's the man himself: RIT - Department of Mechanical Engineering | People | Faculty | Edward Hensel

As for pictures of the gun I'd have to shoot his son an email. I'll report back here with pics if I get them.
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Last edited by CaptainAmerica; 10-14-2011 at 09:07 AM. Reason: consolidated several posts for clarity
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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To add to the story, he was the one who derailed the whole SP patent scam.

The short version was that SP hired PVI to design, and build an electronic gun. SP would be the distributor.

Neither party was happy with the arrangement, so PVI split to sell a newer version through other distributors. SP was not happy. So they told there dealer network they are not allowed to sell, or even talk with PVI. This was substantial because everyone sold SP barrels. They were huge back then.

And PVI went out of business. The bank took everything, and sold it cheap at auction. Including intellectual property rights (ie patents, designs, etc). Here SP bought up the patent, design, equipment, etc. They went on to produce the SHocker 4x4. But the Shocker 4x4 was a grand failure. By now, far, far better guns have hit the market. ie Angel, Bushmaster, Tribal, even Rainmaker.

So used the PVI patent and revised it to be far more general, and then hit the entire competition with patent lawsuits. As we all know, most companies folded. Either paying royalties, or stopping production. All except WDP. They had the money to properly fight SP.

And they discovered something interesting- PVI (and its bank) was only partial owner of the patent. PVI hired Professor Hensel to do the original design work. For payment, he was given part of the design rights. SP only bought the PVI "half". WDP quickly contacted Hensel, and managed to buy up the other half of the patent.

That crushed SP. From that point they were no longer able to sue over the electro patent. In court, the Judge even noted that SP claims were fairly suspecious to begin with as they were never involved in the research, design, and development stages.
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"the evidence strongly suggests that neither Billy nor Adam (Smart Parts) could have invented the electronic paintgun" -Garr M. King, U.S. Judge
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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man, those choochy buggers. makes you want to boycott them if they werent out of business already
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HP_Lovecraft View Post
To add to the story, he was the one who derailed the whole SP patent scam.

The short version was that SP hired PVI to design, and build an electronic gun. SP would be the distributor.

Neither party was happy with the arrangement, so PVI split to sell a newer version through other distributors. SP was not happy. So they told there dealer network they are not allowed to sell, or even talk with PVI. This was substantial because everyone sold SP barrels. They were huge back then.

And PVI went out of business. The bank took everything, and sold it cheap at auction. Including intellectual property rights (ie patents, designs, etc). Here SP bought up the patent, design, equipment, etc. They went on to produce the SHocker 4x4. But the Shocker 4x4 was a grand failure. By now, far, far better guns have hit the market. ie Angel, Bushmaster, Tribal, even Rainmaker.

So used the PVI patent and revised it to be far more general, and then hit the entire competition with patent lawsuits. As we all know, most companies folded. Either paying royalties, or stopping production. All except WDP. They had the money to properly fight SP.

And they discovered something interesting- PVI (and its bank) was only partial owner of the patent. PVI hired Professor Hensel to do the original design work. For payment, he was given part of the design rights. SP only bought the PVI "half". WDP quickly contacted Hensel, and managed to buy up the other half of the patent.

That crushed SP. From that point they were no longer able to sue over the electro patent. In court, the Judge even noted that SP claims were fairly suspecious to begin with as they were never involved in the research, design, and development stages.
Thanks Lovecraft, I've actually red all your posts on the subject over on PBN right before I left for my freshman year there. Imagine my surprise when 2 weeks after reading that I was sitting across the desk from the man himself.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow I started a sticky'ed thread. I feel special.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ahhh rookie Mod's always sticky everything.
I'm not a fan myself of stickys. Just makes the forum harder to read. But the current system of adding imported threads to the "sticky thread" is a good idea.

Anyway, this really isnt about Smart Parts. I'm more curious to see what Dr Hensel is doing these days? He was the first to make a commercial, functional electronic paintgun. I guess that sorta makes him famous, though I'd bet that 99.99% of paintballers have never heard of him.

From the SP vs WDP transcripts, here is some details about Dr Hensel:
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Dr. Edward Hensel, PE, who was then a professor at New Mexico State University, became a shareholder of Pneu Ventures in January 1995, by paying money to Pneu Ventures in exchange for 80 shares of stock.
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Between 1995 and 1996, Dr. Hensel worked at his home in New Mexico on the design and development of an electropneumatic paintball gun. Dr. Hensel set up a mini manufacturing facility in his garage to research and develop the first circuit board to be used in the gun. Dr. Hensel worked at one point around the clock for three days trying to get the timing circuit used in the gun to work
Quote:
(Dr Hensel) designed a combination of elements which related to a firing chamber of an electropneumatic paintball gun that utilized solenoid valves that were configured to receive a regulated supply of compressed gas from a gas source and allow for the launch of a paintball during a firing operation
Quote:
Additionally, Professor Hensel designed and developed an electrical timing circuit configured to receive electrical power and initiate a launching sequence of a paintball gun in response to a trigger pull. He also designed and developed the relationship of the electrical circuit with one or more solenoid valves
Those last 2 bits are important because at trial, Smart Parts kept insisting that THEY, and THEY ALONE invented the Shocker. When WDP tracked down Dr Hensel, it was discovered that not only was Dr Hensel involved, HE ALONE did all the research, design, development, prototyping, etc. Everything. Smart Parts actually had very little contact with PVI.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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At the trial, the Judge (Garr M King) had asked Smart Parts why Dr Hensel was not on the patent they applied for-

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Smart Parts did not send data or other information to Dr. Hensel. [*12] Named inventor Adam Gardner barely knew Dr. Hensel, and may have met him only once. Billy Gardner testified that he had very little contact with Dr. Hensel. He further testified that he would have to defer to Gaston and Smith in terms of how Dr. Hensel fit into the Pneu Ventures operation.
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None of the named inventors had backgrounds in engineering or electronics while Dr. Hensel kept a scientific notebook to carefully document his ideas, work and effort from April 14, 1995, through March 16, 1997
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Although he was a shareholder of Pneu Ventures, Dr. Hensel was not separately compensated for his work on the design and the development of an electropneumatic paintball gun. In addition to being a shareholder, at one point, Dr. Hensel served as [*13] board member and an officer of Pneu ventures, and signed several documents relating to third parties as the Vice President of Pneu Ventures.
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During the summer of 2003, Dr. Hensel was contacted by WDP's counsel as well as an attorney in another case involving Smart Parts. Dr. Hensel states that he became convinced in the fall of 2003 that he should have been named as an inventor on the '326 patent.... in November 2003, whereby Dr. Hensel assigned his rights in the '326 patent and other patents to WDP in exchange for a $ 50, 000
At the end of the trial, Smart Parts was still claiming they were "sole inventors" of the paintgun, claiming Dr Hensel was just doing what they told him to do. The judge pointed out:

Quote:
As with the lack of any documentation of the Gardners' work, Billy and Adam Gardner's testimony regarding their own contributions does not suggest the work of inventors. Billy Gardner could offer very little assistance in determining what he or his brother contributed to the '326 patent. As demonstrated from the lengthy deposition excerpt quoted above, Billy could [*23] not remember any details of the conversation between he and his brother wherein the two purportedly conceived of what is claimed in the patent. The evidence also strongly suggests that neither Billy nor Adam could have invented what is claimed.
So Dr Hensel got his $50,000, his named added to the patent, and given royalty rights by WDP. Not rich, but he probobly deserves some credit, considering all the crap Smart Parts put him, AND US through.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Anyway, this really isnt about Smart Parts. I'm more curious to see what Dr Hensel is doing these days?
He's the dean of my department and teaches a bunch of higher-level classes, as for research or anything I'm not sure.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Show him this thread/bring him here and let us ask him questions and tell him how much we appreciate his work.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If I was at school I would. Home taking online classes this quarter.
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