Bullseye vs. System 96 Litigation

Bullseye vs. System 96 Litigation

Many in the art glass community are aware that Bullseye recently was involved in litigation with Spectrum Glass Company and Mr. Gil Reynolds. To prevent any spread of misinformation about the lawsuit, the owners and management of Bullseye wish to explain:

  • Why we initiated the litigation.
  • The issues in the litigation.
  • The settlement of the litigation.

In approximately 2002, Spectrum began publishing marketing literature stating that:

  • System 96 glass had a "longer working range" than Bullseye's fusible glass (which was sometimes described by Spectrum as a "COE 90" glass).
  • The allegedly longer working range of System 96 glass, provided more control over surface dimensions, more options in design and a wider margin of error compared to Bullseye's fusible glass.
  • Bullseye's fusible glass was a "stepped-melt" product such that it changed viscosity in a "sudden" or "jerky" manner with changes in temperature, while System 96 glass did not.

Many of these statements comparing System 96 glass to Bullseye's glass were made in printed literature for which authorship was attributed to Gil Reynolds.

After extensive testing in our own studios we at Bullseye concluded that these claims were inaccurate and grew concerned as we increasingly heard them repeated by glass users and saw them reprinted in third party literature and posted on websites. We found such statements in magazine articles written by users who had not themselves done comparative testing, but had relied on Spectrum for their information.

For kilnforming to survive as a credible artistic medium we believe that the user must have access to sound technical information. When technical claims made in marketing material cannot be supported by sound scientific evidence, we believe the future of the craft is endangered. Bullseye has always been about education and accurate technical information. The integrity of technical information provided by manufacturers is something glass users should not have to question. We raised our concerns within the art glass community but were unable to effect any change in Spectrum's marketing literature.

We therefore commissioned an independent glass scientist, Dr. David Pye of Alfred University in New York, to test samples of Spectrum's System 96 glass and our fusible glass. Dr. Pye tested the clear glass of each company. Reynolds had also used the System 96 clear glass in the test published by Spectrum in support of their claims.

Dr. Pye reported to us that his testing and analysis did not show any appreciable difference in working range between the Bullseye and Spectrum glasses and that even an experienced glass user was not likely to notice any difference in control or margin for error. He also reported that both glasses changed viscosity in a smooth manner and that neither could be characterized as a "step-melted" product.

In February 2004, after receiving Dr. Pye's oral report, we filed suit against Spectrum and Mr. Reynolds in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. The lawsuit made claims for false advertising and defamation based on our view that the marketing statements set forth above were false and/or misleading. Shortly after filing the lawsuit, we invited Spectrum and Mr. Reynolds to discuss Dr. Pye's analysis and to discuss whether Spectrum and Reynolds would agree to eliminate and/or modify the statements at issue. Spectrum and Reynolds agreed to engage in those discussions.

The discussions among ourselves, Spectrum and Reynolds resulted in a settlement agreement executed by the parties in August 2004. At Spectrum's and Reynolds' request the settlement agreement expressly states that it is not an admission of liability. However,

  • The settlement agreement requires Spectrum and Reynolds, absent further scientific evidence, to stop making the statements described above with respect to clear glasses and with respect to System 96 and Bullseye glasses in general.
  • Spectrum also agreed to revise its marketing literature to eliminate the statements described above.
  • Spectrum and Reynolds agreed to a statement, in the form of an article titled "New Knowledge" and attributed to Gil Reynolds as the author that corrected and/or clarified the prior statements described above.
  • Spectrum agreed to post this statement on its Internet site for a period of 90 days.
  • Spectrum also agreed to recommend to its distributors and dealers that they discontinue distribution of the marketing materials that contained the claims of "longer working range", "stepped-melt product" etc. and that they change their websites appropriately.

In exchange for these agreements by Spectrum and Reynolds, we at Bullseye agreed to dismiss our lawsuit, and the lawsuit has in fact been dismissed.

We are pleased with the settlement agreement and believe it accomplishes what we set out to achieve when we filed the litigation: the elimination of marketing materials regarding fusible glass that are not supported by adequate scientific evidence.

While we think that the entire issue of working range is far from being among the more important aspects of understanding kilnwork, we have prepared what we hope will be a basic introduction to the territory with an explanation as to how Bullseye, Spectrum, and other glasses fit within these parameters.

Read more about the working range, and what it means to fusing.

Bullseye or System 96?