Backcountry.com recently visited the Black Diamond headquarters to watch how the company designs, builds and tests carabiners. Black Diamond is known for their new product innovation as well as their rigorous Quality Assurance process. This emphasis on QA may stem from the original lawsuits that brought down Chouinard Equipment and allowed Peter Metcalf to buy the assets and start Black Diamond.
A recent article in Outside magazine highlighted the company's pension for innovation and stated they do it no matter what the cost, acquiring companies if they need to in order to access new product lines such as Ascension Enterprises (skins) and Beal (ropes). Black Diamond spent four years and $5 million to deliver their new line of ski boots but filed three patents in the process, something else at which they are very diligent.
The company was in fact issued a patent today for an "adjustable grip, leashless ice axe" (seen in the Black Diamond Fusion perhaps?) that they filed in 2006. Last week they were awarded another for a "rock climbing tool that performs multiple safety functions".
This ingrained culture of innovation plays a huge part in Black Diamond current and future success.