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Sniper9

Bauer vs Step lawsuit

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https://sgbonline.com/bauer-hockey-reaches-settlement-in-skate-steel-lawsuit/

Interested as to why other brands like Tydan, Massive blade, Bionic etc weren't sued. 

I have a feeling that Step will eventually start reselling down the road when an agreement is made with Bauer regarding royalties, but if not, Bauer is gonna take a hit in sales bc CCM has upped their game.  I doubt Step will completely stop selling ever due to the fact they were granted some leeway to deplete stocks

Edited by Sniper9

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It's really an admission that previous Bauer steel was crap. Now Bauer think they have a competing product with their Pulse range it will be interesting to see what the pros think of it. Is Bauer really going to say no to the pro who wants to stay with Step? Bauer skates with aftermarket (eg Step) holders would be a marketing nightmare. 

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It will be interesting to see how Bauer reacts to pros who want to use Step and for the players who use Step if it causes them to make any changes to keep using the steel, now that it wont be available to them according to the press release.  I feel like most people, us here on MSH not included usually just use the stock steel that comes with their skates so there would be more value in a consumer seeing X player using Bauer skates because they wont even think that its a different type of steel being used.

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I believe Step has played by the rules this entire time for a reason.  They sold ST-EDGE in Canada because Bauer didn't get the patent right away, so they shot their shot.  The lawsuit was in 2017 - 4 years later.  So now they settle and perhaps an OEM agreement is made down the road.  Even though they only sold them in Canada, I'm willing to bet that ST-EDGE comprised the bulk of their sales.

1 hour ago, Sniper9 said:

I have a feeling that Step will eventually start reselling down the road when an agreement is made with Bauer regarding royalties, but if not, Bauer is gonna take a hit in sales bc CCM has upped their game.  I doubt Step will completely stop selling ever due to the fact they were granted some leeway to deplete stocks

What part of "settlement" and "stop selling to professional leagues by December 31, 2019, and to retail accounts by April 30, 2020" is unclear here?

Also, it is completely silly to think that Bauer is going to take a hit in sales based on a holder.  It's   Look at the threads 7 years ago with people posting on here talking about how customers were going to retrofit LS2 holders...it didn't happen.  The VAST majority of retail customers don't swap their holders.  The percentage of retail customers who swap holders has to be 1%, at best.  

1 hour ago, Vet88 said:

It's really an admission that previous Bauer steel was crap. Now Bauer think they have a competing product with their Pulse range it will be interesting to see what the pros think of it. Is Bauer really going to say no to the pro who wants to stay with Step? Bauer skates with aftermarket (eg Step) holders would be a marketing nightmare. 

The EQM usually makes that decision, and it's a decision based on convenience.  Bauer will ship the steel on the skates for sure, but the EQM just swaps it out.  You rarely get players coming into the room asking to use a particular steel type/brand, and if they do, they most likely have an endorsement of some sort.

20 minutes ago, cjpritch said:

It will be interesting to see how Bauer reacts to pros who want to use Step and for the players who use Step if it causes them to make any changes to keep using the steel, now that it wont be available to them according to the press release.  I feel like most people, us here on MSH not included usually just use the stock steel that comes with their skates so there would be more value in a consumer seeing X player using Bauer skates because they wont even think that its a different type of steel being used.

I do think it's going to impact service-only shops, especially if Bauer sues other brands in the steel game.  Hopefully perhaps Bauer allows those shops to be able to buy steel from them, and make it so that they can make a decent resell margin.

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We sell a lot of aftermarket steel and very few people specifically request STEP for Bauer holders, even when we tell them the benefits of it vs Bauer steel. In fact, it's not just STEP, but Tydan, Byonic, Flare and other brands are also more difficult to sell than factory standard Bauer steel. 

With CCM, it seems to be a different story though. Most players specifically request aftermarket. 

Not sure why....

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1 hour ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

We sell a lot of aftermarket steel and very few people specifically request STEP for Bauer holders, even when we tell them the benefits of it vs Bauer steel. In fact, it's not just STEP, but Tydan, Byonic, Flare and other brands are also more difficult to sell than factory standard Bauer steel. 

With CCM, it seems to be a different story though. Most players specifically request aftermarket. 

Not sure why....

Probably bc CCM steel is noticeably crappier than any other steel on the market. 

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1 hour ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

With CCM, it seems to be a different story thougMost players specifically request aftermarket

Not sure why....

I can’t beleive the number of people in locker rooms I overhear who say things like “I can only use Bauer sticks, everything else is garbage” or “Bauer is the only company whose skates fit right.”

So much long term brainwashing and group think that Bauer puts out product that is on such another level. They have a brand loyalty that no one else does. 

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33 minutes ago, start_today said:

I can’t beleive the number of people in locker rooms I overhear who say things like “I can only use Bauer sticks, everything else is garbage” or “Bauer is the only company whose skates fit right.”

So much long term brainwashing and group think that Bauer puts out product that is on such another level. They have a brand loyalty that no one else does. 

Yep, Bauer is the Apple of hockey gear.  People are willing to pay more for an equal or even inferior product "because Bauer's the best".  The comments you hear about CCM steel are a perfect example.  CCM stock steel is just as good as LS1, but people talk like Bauer steel is so much better.  I've seen lots of Bauer steel snap from being hit by a stiff pass, but have never seen CCM steel break from a similar impact.

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1 hour ago, boo10 said:

Yep, Bauer is the Apple of hockey gear.  People are willing to pay more for an equal or even inferior product "because Bauer's the best".  The comments you hear about CCM steel are a perfect example.  CCM stock steel is just as good as LS1, but people talk like Bauer steel is so much better.  I've seen lots of Bauer steel snap from being hit by a stiff pass, but have never seen CCM steel break from a similar impact.

But the majority of people swapping CCM steel aren't in the equivalent skates as LS1...

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Brand loyalty is pretty powerful.  Brands themselves, regardless of the product or service portfolio, have dollar figures attached to them.  Apple built their brand because they made superior products for many years and led the way in design innovation.  They may not be on that level now but it takes a while for that to dissipate.  So good on Bauer.  

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14 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

We sell a lot of aftermarket steel and very few people specifically request STEP for Bauer holders, even when we tell them the benefits of it vs Bauer steel. In fact, it's not just STEP, but Tydan, Byonic, Flare and other brands are also more difficult to sell than factory standard Bauer steel. 

With CCM, it seems to be a different story though. Most players specifically request aftermarket. 

Not sure why....

I think it may be due to steel height.

Since almost all of Bauer's steel is tall, when you compare it to your standard SB, the SB doesn't look like it will last long.

 

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its funny cause i don't think i own anything bauer. when it comes to sticks i just buy whatever is on sale in the curve and flex that i like and the brand doesn't matter. so sometimes its bauer, but its a coincidence. lately i've just been buying allblackhockeysticks cause i can get the curve, flex, and matte finish i like hassle-free for cheap and the sticks perform and last as well as most other sticks i have to hunt the clearance racks and websites for

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16 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

We sell a lot of aftermarket steel and very few people specifically request STEP for Bauer holders, even when we tell them the benefits of it vs Bauer steel. In fact, it's not just STEP, but Tydan, Byonic, Flare and other brands are also more difficult to sell than factory standard Bauer steel. 

With CCM, it seems to be a different story though. Most players specifically request aftermarket. 

Not sure why....

Agree with JR it's probably the height, in conjunction with Step holding an edge much better. I had to sharpen my XS steel after about 2 hours of ice time. Before this set of Step I have now, I probably could go 8-10 hours of ice time before I really needed a sharpening. Could also be placebo but I feel like my step blacksteel is actually "smoother" feeling, i.e. glides ever so lightly better.

 

I do have to say though, I did really like the stock profile on my XS steel. The toe of Step steel is a bit more rounded and pronounced and takes a while to get used to. Might have my toe shaved down just a touch to match the shape of the XS toe better.

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2 hours ago, BenBreeg said:

Brand loyalty is pretty powerful.  Brands themselves, regardless of the product or service portfolio, have dollar figures attached to them.  Apple built their brand because they made superior products for many years and led the way in design innovation.  They may not be on that level now but it takes a while for that to dissipate.  So good on Bauer.  

Yup, totally agree. 

It's not "brainwashing". It's sticking with a brand that worked for you in the past. Lets face it, as good as CCM is right now, they were equally as bad not to long ago and they were pretty bad for a good stretch of time.

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21 hours ago, Sniper9 said:

https://sgbonline.com/bauer-hockey-reaches-settlement-in-skate-steel-lawsuit/

Interested as to why other brands like Tydan, Massive blade, Bionic etc weren't sued. 

I have a feeling that Step will eventually start reselling down the road when an agreement is made with Bauer regarding royalties, but if not, Bauer is gonna take a hit in sales bc CCM has upped their game.  I doubt Step will completely stop selling ever due to the fact they were granted some leeway to deplete stocks

Interesting patent case. The judge had made his final ruling, there is nothing else to say. 

Step Steel has a solid customer following though, and may be able to try and develop their own patented proprietary holder/blade combination. If they can make a holder out of carbon fiber, aluminum and/or titanium, they can sell a lighter holder/blade combo which would be very attractive to existing and new Step Steel customers. The other things they could get into are figure skating blades and speed skating blades.

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I’m surprised Step lost.  That’s like the automotive industry preventing aftermarket parts to be sold.  You have to wonder if the extra time is to try to negotiate a longer term agreement.  I would think Bauer would not want to alienate the pros over this.

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59 minutes ago, stljrs said:

I’m surprised Step lost.  That’s like the automotive industry preventing aftermarket parts to be sold.  You have to wonder if the extra time is to try to negotiate a longer term agreement.  I would think Bauer would not want to alienate the pros over this.

It isn’t.  If the interface that locks the blade in is patented, Bauer has the right to control that.  If a car part attaches via a standard interface, it is not controlled by the OEM.  A business can use its IP however it wants, that’s the point.  It can keep it for itself, license it, sell it, etc.  Without IP you lessen the incentive for innovation in many cases.

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5 hours ago, stljrs said:

 You have to wonder if the extra time is to try to negotiate a longer term agreement. I would think Bauer would not want to alienate the pros over this.

I said that in my initial post.  Old school guys perhaps remember the Oakley/Jofa Image lawsuit...it worked out for both parties in the end.

It is still comical to read the posts on here and other outlets about this.  It's not that serious. Remember a week ago when there was an article in The Athletic and people were shocked that most pro players didn't know anything about profiles?  Now do you think they're in tune with their steel options?  

Once again, the EQM is the key to all of this.  If an EQM is using STEP, it's because he likes their product, not because a NHL player demanded it.  There isn't going to be a mass boycott of Bauer products in NHL rooms due to this.

4 hours ago, BenBreeg said:

It isn’t.  If the interface that locks the blade in is patented, Bauer has the right to control that.  If a car part attaches via a standard interface, it is not controlled by the OEM.  A business can use its IP however it wants, that’s the point.  It can keep it for itself, license it, sell it, etc.  Without IP you lessen the incentive for innovation in many cases.

Nailed it.  Bauer knew what they were doing when they patented the top geometry of the holder.  You may not like it, but it is certainly within their right to do so.

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5 hours ago, stljrs said:

I’m surprised Step lost.  That’s like the automotive industry preventing aftermarket parts to be sold.  You have to wonder if the extra time is to try to negotiate a longer term agreement.  I would think Bauer would not want to alienate the pros over this.

I'm not. They were clearly violating a US patent and they knew it. Which is why they never offered it to the US market. They even stamped some blurb about it on the steel itself.

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6 hours ago, stljrs said:

I’m surprised Step lost.  That’s like the automotive industry preventing aftermarket parts to be sold.  You have to wonder if the extra time is to try to negotiate a longer term agreement.  I would think Bauer would not want to alienate the pros over this.

I feel like if STEP had no choice as a Lawsuit like this would ruin them finacially even if they won.

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I think people may be confused on what exactly Step does as a company.  As far as I know, they are a fabricator, not a manufacturer, of steel runners.  They are buying the steel from a manufacturer and stamping out blades in their facility.  They have their reputation because the composition of the steel they used was better for durability, sharpening, and edge retention than OEM.  However, that composition of steel is available to anyone, including Bauer should they want it.  What exactly does Step offer that would benefit Bauer, that Bauer couldn't do on its own?  Why would Bauer want to reach an agreement or partnership with Step?

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Why would most pros care (or even know) what kind of steel they're using?  They have EQMs to care for them.  Things like durability and edge retention matter to guys like us that want to have sharp skates without having to pay for sharpenings or steel more often.  They matter to an EQM who has to sharpen and maintain dozens of pairs of skates/runners in a short period of time.  As long as the skates are sharp and cut to give the characteristics the player likes, pros don't give one second's thought to what brand of steel is on the skate.  Bauer isn't going to alienate any pros by doing this.  They may piss off a few EQMs who have to cut skates more often, but that's not likely to affect thier usage amongst players in the league.

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2 hours ago, stick9 said:

I'm not. They were clearly violating a US patent and they knew it. Which is why they never offered it to the US market. They even stamped some blurb about it on the steel itself.

No, they abided by the US patent.  The Canadian one was the one that was murkier...

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54 minutes ago, psulion22 said:

I think people may be confused on what exactly Step does as a company.  As far as I know, they are a fabricator, not a manufacturer, of steel runners.  They are buying the steel from a manufacturer and stamping out blades in their facility.  They have their reputation because the composition of the steel they used was better for durability, sharpening, and edge retention than OEM.  However, that composition of steel is available to anyone, including Bauer should they want it.  What exactly does Step offer that would benefit Bauer, that Bauer couldn't do on its own?  Why would Bauer want to reach an agreement or partnership with Step?

Bauer uses the same steel composition in the LS3.

You answered your last question.  They have a better reputation at this point.  The LS4 launch wasn't good for Bauer.

But in the initial article, it states that Bauer will be offering new steel.

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