Without answers to these questions, this discussion is pointless.
Peter, perhaps I'm reading something into your comment that isn't there, but it seems like you're echoing the occasionally expressed sentiment that only patent lawyers can discuss patents and potential patent violations. If that's what you're saying, then I disagree strongly.
Simply put, patent law is a system for protecting innovative ideas from theft. I don't have to be a patent lawyer to understand that. If someone incorporates another inventor's ideas into their invention and the ideas haven't been patented, then that's not theft. On the other hand, if the ideas have been patented, then there's liability. The patent defines ownership of the innovation.
When I say that I believe Blackstone is violating 2stone's patent (found here
, btw), it's just another way of saying that Blackstone is stealing Willard's ideas. No one here has to be a patent lawyer to see the obviousness of the theft involved. That idea theft is integral to this discussion, and, while, as I said, I don't think it should necessarily prevent anyone from purchasing this device, it should be something that prospective customers should be aware of. For instance, if a company is willing to steal ideas, then they might be willing to cut corners on build quality as well. So far, this oven seems to be hitting the temps that most members are looking for, but the question of build quality as it relates to longevity still stands.
As far as Willard's present and future legal actions... I don't have a crystal ball, and the vast majority of members here will not be impacted whatever he chooses to do, but there is at least one member here who's future relies a great deal on Willard's level of litigiousness- Bert. While Bert has taken comments
relating to potential patent violation to heart and worked on making his device more unique, I think he understands the potential legal threat that Willard represents.
There's a lot we don't know about Willard and his past actions and intentions, but his lack of visible action tells us quite a bit. With the sheer number of companies that are mimicking his devices, one would think that, if he had taken action against one of them, he would have done so in a very public manner as to dissuade the other imitators. The fact that, so far, he's taken no visible action against a carbon copy of his 2stone inferno bodes very well, imo, for Bert, whose device, as it stands, is a bit 2stone-ish, but certainly not a mirror image.
So, for prospective and current customers of Blackstone and Bert (and those pulling for Bert), along with those tracking the progress of 2stone's many imitators, patent violation discussion and conjecture related to Willard's future actions is anything but pointless.