PDA

View Full Version : stander vs surfer


AielLandscaping
08-07-2002, 10:34 AM
after much debate i had decided i was going to purchase a stander next spring, but now that wrights decided to screw things up, i'm back to debating again. so which is better? a 36" stander with bad manufactorer customer service, but a very close dealer. or a 36" super surfer without the problems wrights been having lately, but the nearest dealer is 70 miles away.

rkbrown
08-07-2002, 10:42 AM
Aiel:

I would hesitate with the Wright product at this time. With the way Wright is messing around with their distribution system, I would wonder if my close dealer would still be a dealer 6 months to 1 year from now. Just thinking out loud here.

KLMlawn
08-07-2002, 10:52 AM
I have been noticing many members of this site from out West and the Mid-South saying that Wright Dealers and Distributors are either moving or not handling Wright products anymore .... I just find this odd in an interesting way. Here on Long Island, there have to be at least 6-7 dealers that I can think of right off the top of my head let alone doing a search for them.
If you guys are interested in finding dealers near you, you can go to Wrights homepage (www.wrightmfg.com) and get a list of your closest dealers or call Wright directly and ask them at (301) 360-9810.
I never have a problem calling and getting an answer to just about any question I have that the local dealer can't answer or if I am not satisfied with their answer.

captdevo
08-07-2002, 07:32 PM
the biggest problem i have, is not with wright, but their midwest distributor, keen edge, these guys are idiots!

and......... that wright hasn't done anything to remedy this problem.

i know of 7 dealers that have dropped or are not ordering wrights anymore because of these screwballs.

after reading that there is a nationwide problem makes me wonder!

demo the surfer, it impressed me!

and now that john deere owns them, they have some great finance programs, and you know parts and service will be easily obtained.

john deere dealers will service gd's also, only difference is paint, labels and decks.

in fact i played on a 52" super surfer today.

AielLandscaping
08-07-2002, 09:02 PM
well if deere dealers will work on and can order parts for surfers, then i think my decission has just been made. we have a lot of deere dealers here in town but i figured i'd have to take the machine to a great dane dealer to have it worked on even though i know that deere owns dane... i guess all that's left is to demo one of them.

AL Inc
08-08-2002, 01:14 AM
KLM, I totally agree with you. I love my Stander and my dealer has been great. Not that I've had many problems. We've become good friends and these guys will turn around any machine I have in a few hours. I will continue buying Standers. Mike

Nichols Lawn Care
08-08-2002, 04:24 AM
I just started into this business on my own this season and I used a lot of different mowers. The Wright-Stander is just a walk behind with the controls moved on top of the mower. Did you notice the wheelly bars on the back. Yes it will easily tip on you especially on hills. I would try a GreatDane if that is what you want, if is more stable and heavy duty. The GreatDane cost more but well worth it--although the price has gone down this year.

KLMlawn
08-08-2002, 05:35 PM
Nichols ... the reason for the wheelie rollers is exactly just for that and for traversing curbs and such, if you had the engine at full throttle and hit the levers hard, it will pop a wheelie. Now for your comment on the Great Dane, it was and for the most part still is a copy of the Wright Stander, Dane Scag was privy to the design and concept prior to the debut of the Stander, so in order to try and get some market share, he threw the Great Dane together and got it out on the market first. BTW, the first GD's were fixed decks the same as the Stander, but due to copyright infringment and a court settlement between Scag and Wright, the agreement was that Wright would manufacture fixed decks and Scag would manufacture floating decks for their "stand on" units.
Wright still is a more solid machine, better control, and in two years of owning one (now two) the only thing I have had to replace are the spindles, probably because I often run doubles, which were covered under warantee.

Martino
08-09-2002, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by KLMlawn
Nichols ... the reason for the wheelie rollers is exactly just for that and for traversing curbs and such, if you had the engine at full throttle and hit the levers hard, it will pop a wheelie. Now for your comment on the Great Dane, it was and for the most part still is a copy of the Wright Stander, Dane Scag was privy to the design and concept prior to the debut of the Stander, so in order to try and get some market share, he threw the Great Dane together and got it out on the market first. BTW, the first GD's were fixed decks the same as the Stander, but due to copyright infringment and a court settlement between Scag and Wright, the agreement was that Wright would manufacture fixed decks and Scag would manufacture floating decks for their "stand on" units.
Wright still is a more solid machine, better control, and in two years of owning one (now two) the only thing I have had to replace are the spindles, probably because I often run doubles, which were covered under warantee.

You should really get the facts straight before posting about the settlement between Wright and GD. Fixed vs. suspended decks had nothing to do with the lawsuit, rather it was the placement of the platform in relation to the wheelbase that was at the center of the dispute. There was never an issue of one company "stealing" a design from another, then going to market. It was a matter of infringing on patents, which is an entirely different scenario, legally speaking, than the one you described.

KLMlawn
08-09-2002, 03:38 PM
Martino, honestly, I didn't speak with either companies legal representation, but from several stories I had heard from what I felt to be informed sources, that was the understanding that I walked away with. If you have better information, I am always happy to listen and learn.
But in my opinion, Wright is still a better machine.

Bill Wright
08-09-2002, 09:02 PM
Thank you all for your interest in our patents but especially in our mowers. Hopefully just to clarify: We did win the patent suit and also granted a “limited field” license to Great Dane that was transferable to John Deere when they sold it. Kryn was on the right track, we didn’t limit the style of deck (floating or fixed) that was used, only its location.

Some of the key limitations in the license we granted are that there needs to be: a. a 6.5” gap between the rear edge of the cutter deck and the front edge of the rear drive tires; b. a 1.25” distiance behind the foot platform and the center of the zero-turning point and c. 21” distance between the stationary handlebar and the zero-turning point of the machine.

FYI these are the limitations from the original document: “2.02 LICENSED FIELD means, and is limited to, the practice of the WRIGHT PATENTS for a seatless (i.e. having no seat, belt or other portion/member for sitting on or leaning backward on) stand-on lawn mower which shall include and be limited to: (a) first and second rear drive wheels having a common rotational axis that is horizontally oriented; (b) rear drive tires having no foam or liquid or other weight additive therein and having a filled nominal diameter of at least eighteen (18) inches; (c) only a single foot platform having a substantially level foot supporting surface for supporting feet of a standing operator, the supporting surface including a rearwardmost edge; and no other member capable of supporting a foot or feet of the operator shall be provided rearwardly of the rearwardmost edge of the foot platform -- except that a single horizontally aligned round-in-cross-section bar may be provided in a position so that (i) the bar’s uppermost or top edge is at an elevation of at least one and one-quarter (1.25) inches (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.5 inches) below all portions of the rearwardmost edge of the foot supporting surface in all potential platform positions when no one is standing on the platform, (ii) in the event that the platform has a spring or other biasing suspension, then the bar’s uppermost or top edge is at an elevation of at least three-eighths of an (0.375) inch (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.25 inches) below the rearwardmost edge of the foot supporting surface when the platform is in a fully compressed state or when a two hundred and fifty pound operator is standing on the rear edge of the platform, and (iii) the bar’s rear edge shall not be more than one quarter (0.25) inch (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.25 inches) behind the common rotational axis of the rear drive wheels; (d) wherein the rearwardmost edge of the sole foot platform is at least one and one-quarter (1.25) inches (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.25 inches) forward of the rear drive wheels’ common rotational axis; (e) a speed limiting system including at least one normally stationary handle grip bar to be stationary during mower operation but which may be selectively rotated about a horizontal pivot axis in a rearwardly direction to limit the speed of the mower, wherein the normally stationary handle grip bar shall rotate or pivot about said pivot axis in a pivot stroke of at least two (2.0) inches (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.50 inches) in arc length measured at the portion of the grip bar furthest from the pivot axis, the speed limiting system further including control levers located rearwardly of the normally stationary handle grip bar which are pushed forward by an operator to abut and contact the normally stationary handle grip bar whereby the position of the grip bar limits the speed of the mower, wherein the normally stationary handle grip bar’s rearwardmost position is at least twenty-one (21.0) inches (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.50 inches) forward of the rear drive wheels’ common rotational axis; (f) the rearwardmost portion of the cutter deck (specifically the cutter deck’s housing and skirts) is always at least six and one-half (6.5) inches (with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- 0.5 inches) forward of the front edges of both rear drive wheel tires; (g) no portion attached to or part of the mower extends rearwardly of the rear edge of either rear drive wheel tire, except that a hitch device may be provided for connecting accessory attachments such as a grass catcher, blower, thatcher, or utility cart; neither the hitch nor attachment shall be to enable any operator support such as a foot step, platform or any other support for an operator to lean or sit on, and the hitch shall not be for enabling the attachment of counterweight(s) extending rearward of the rear edge of either rear drive wheel tire; and (h) the whole engine shall be located forward of the operator.”

morturf
08-10-2002, 12:33 AM
That was from the horses mouth!!!!! WOW. Thanks for legal description. Bill you make a great product.

Now for my 2 cents on this deal. I have used both in all types of terrain. My area is very hilly. I would not have GD/JD stander (that is Great Dane not God #$@%) :D , they just don't work as well on hills. Now if the type of terrain were mostly flat.....I would be more inclined to the GD/JD because of the ease of height change. I have used my Wright on hills that are very hard to walk up on all fours!! I have never has a problem with it tipping over on me, it is like a spider on hills. Bill you make a great product.

In reading that patent thing above I realize that the way the GD/JD has to be made to get around the patent is inherently less stable on hills due to the physics. Bill you make a great product.

I live in the Keen edge distribution district, I found them to be very helpful when I wanted to try one before buying. They got me a demo and let me keep it for 4 months......all in the winter because the snow showed up too early. I used it in the spring first thing and was impressed. I purchased one shortly. I was very impressed by it hill mowing abilities. Bill you make a great product.

Well enough from me.
Mike

Bill Wright
08-10-2002, 02:15 PM
Mike, that’s an encouraging reply! Glad you are so pleased with your Stander and thanks for your plug for Keen Edge. The spider description for the Stander is truly an accurate one! By the way, just another small clarification, the GD/JD is actually licensed under some of our patents so it doesn’t really get around them, it still falls under them (legally infringing) since we sold the limited-field license to Great Dane in 1999. We require them to put our applicable patent numbers on their machines under that license. Sincerely, Bill

Bluesteel
08-10-2002, 03:19 PM
Bill,

Good to see you here and responding to these issues. As an owner of your product, I'm very concerned about the reports of distributors selling directly to the public. I'm planning to buy more machines next year, but only from a dealer that can support my business with parts and service in case of a breakdown. However, if these reports are true, how can you expect dealers to continue carrying your products?

By the way, it took over 3 weeks to get my machine in, and even then it came in with shipping damage! I could tell my dealer was very frustrated (as I was), and finally had to contact the factory. I'm betting this was not an isolated case. If so, what's the purpose of distributors? Maybe the threat of going dealer-direct would get those guys to dummy-up.

As a businessman having to compete on all fronts, I'm pissed that a rival may have purchased the same tool for much less than retail. Meanwhile I had to postpone and loose business for almost a month because a distributor cheated the system.

Whatever the solution, many of us want (need) to see your business thrive. Please address this situation. We look forward to seeing new products and money-making tools from you.

Martino
08-10-2002, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by Bill Wright
Thank you all for your interest in our patents but especially in our mowers. Hopefully just to clarify: We did win the patent suit and also granted a “limited field” license to Great Dane that was transferable to John Deere when they sold it.

Bill:

Maybe you should clarify this statement a little better. It was widely reported that the parties settled the lawsuit, hence no finding by the court was made, right? A settlement and a judgement are two very different things. You can indeed win a judgement, but a settlement is something the litigants agree upon (sometimes with encouragement by the presiding judge.) If you received a judgement in your favor, you won the suit. However, if you agreed to a settlement, you settled the suit. Big distinction legally speaking. Maybe you got what you wanted in the settlement, but what you didn't get was a judgement. That is, if all of the industry reports are true.

KLMlawn
08-10-2002, 11:02 PM
First I would like to say that it is a pleasure to see you here Bill. With many threads and post about the differences and debates between Standers, Great Dane/ JD, it would be nice to see more input from Wright directly, as well as to correct those of us who may be misinformed. :rolleyes:
Secondly, I want to point out that I am not completely legally literate ... basically because I have not had the need, as of yet, to dispute any matters of this kind. I may have incorrectly used terminology to describe the concept or happenings which I was trying to convey, for which I apologize.

Bluesteel
08-11-2002, 05:59 PM
Kryn,

Got enough horsepower on that 52"???

KLMlawn
08-12-2002, 02:30 AM
Bluesteel, I wasn't specifically looking for that much, but the dealer had two of them in 52" with the same motors, so hey, why not .... at least I never really have to worry about being under powered ...:D

Bill Wright
08-12-2002, 08:32 PM
Originally posted by Martino


Bill:

Maybe you should clarify this statement a little better. It was widely reported that the parties settled the lawsuit, hence no finding by the court was made, right? A settlement and a judgement are two very different things. You can indeed win a judgement, but a settlement is something the litigants agree upon (sometimes with encouragement by the presiding judge.) If you received a judgement in your favor, you won the suit. However, if you agreed to a settlement, you settled the suit. Big distinction legally speaking. Maybe you got what you wanted in the settlement, but what you didn't get was a judgement. That is, if all of the industry reports are true.

Dear Martino,
Thank you for your well-considered request for clarification. The distinction you point out is indeed very important. We did truly win by receiving a judgment/court injunction from the judge. The court’s order prescribed the amount of money involved (which was confidential) and which patents were infringed and an enjoinment order to cease the making, using, selling, etc. of the infringing mowers. As can be seen below, the U.S. District Court found that Great Dane's Surfer mower infringed two Wright patents. Here an excerpt from the court order, signed by the Judge December 29, 1999:

“8. Each of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,507,138 (“the ‘138 patent”), 5,600,944 (“the ‘944 patent”), and 5,765,347 (“the ‘347 patent”) is not invalid in law, each is not unenforceable, and each is owned by Wright in its entirety.
9. The Court has found that all versions of Great Dane’s and Huncilman’s Surfer stand-on lawn mower available to the public on or before July 30, 1999 literally infringe each of the ‘944 and ‘347 patents. The Court has found that the ‘138 patent is not infringed.
10. Except as otherwise provided in the Confidential Settlement Agreement executed simultaneously herewith, Great Dane and Huncilman, and any of their current and future employees, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, assigns, successors, and officers are hereby permanently enjoined and restrained during the respective terms of the aforesaid ‘944 and ‘347 patents from making, causing to be made, selling, using, importing, and offering to sell each of (a) Surfer mowers as they existed as of and prior to July 30, 1999, (b) mowers no more than colorably or insubstantially different than such Surfer mowers, (c) stand-on mowers including a foot platform located at least partially within the profile of any rear or drive tire, or rear drive wheel, as viewed from the side, and (d) stand-on mowers including a foot platform, and a handle bar or handle grip locateable forward of any rotational axis of any drive wheel. The parties to this suit acknowledge that the Confidential Settlement Agreement permits Great Dane to make, use and sell a seatless stand-on mower more specifically described therein. . .
13. This Judgment shall be final and nonappealable. . .
15. Great Dane and Huncilman shall pay to Wright a confidential sum in accordance with the terms of the Confidential Settlement Agreement filed herewith and incorporated into this Order by reference. The Confidential Settlement Agreement is a part of this Order. This payment is expressly understood as not being representative of a reasonable royalty nor of the profits lost by Wright on account of the infringement. . .”

To summarize, the U.S. District Court found that Great Dane's Surfer mower infringed two Wright patents. Thus, the Court entered an injunction expressly ordering that Great Dane no longer make or sell its infringing mowers. As for Great Dane's counter suit against Wright, the Court dismissed it with prejudice after it had found all asserted claims of the Berrios '466 patent invalid in July 1999. Thereafter Great Dane was ordered by the court to stop making and selling its Surfer as it existed. FYI Huncilman was the contract manufacturer that had been manufacturing the Surfers for Great Dane.

Sincerely,
Bill

P.S. Back in January of 2000 I made complete (except the sealed portions) copies of the court order available to all of my customers upon request. This is still available to any customer who asks.

Martino
08-12-2002, 10:49 PM
It was a very difficult thing to keep up with the specifics of this suit from a distance. Everything that I had read, seemingly, referred only to a settlement, and not a finding by the court. Thanks for clearing it up!