"True in a practical sense - going after someone for a one-off, what are damages? The gross or net profit on one stove? $10-20? Plus legal fees if successful, so it all about the putative aspects, not the compensatory. You've caused so little harm, you're unsueable."
Interesting point- but what if there's no loss of sale? For the form factor reason's I've already outlined, and that fact that I'd never pay $35 plus tax and shipping for something so relatively simple to make, with tools and materials I already have on hand (my only purchase was a $7, 1/16" diameter arts and crafts hole punch to make a nice termination of the flissure joint cuts).
"Eli Whitney's cotton gin is an example - it was tremendously insightful to turn the process around - picking the cotton from the seeds instead of the seeds from the cotton. Ironically, he had hoped to make slave's lives easier but it revitalized the whole plantation cotton industry. But any handiman who'd seen one could make one himself so Whitney made nothing from it.
But if you fall within the scope of a patent, yes, you're infringing, even if you are making it for yourself. Now, personally, I dislike how the patent office has gone to largely granting patents to anyone who fills out the forms correctly and for which is not obvious prior art. And letting other claimants fight it out in the courts. I wish they would enforce the "non-obvious" clause more. Because an awful lots of minor ideas and tweeks get patents. Things that, to me, any skilled designer could have come up with. Stuff that is hardly the first transitor or airplane (or thermarest or free-standing tent in our realm.) I have NO opinion of Trail Design's stuff. I'm not familar with their product line or their patents. I'm just saying, in general, we're granting too many patents and while that employs many laywers, it can stiffle innovation."
The current patent process really frustrates me. I deal with it on a day to day basis, and my company's primary source of income is by collecting royalties on patents we own and license to other companies. Let us look at this from the consumer's standpoint: for example, Trail Designs doesn't offer a 2 piece cone for sale, yet their patent covers it. Obviously there's a market for 2pc cones, or that thread on OM wouldn't have over 500 posts. So what are potential consumers supposed to do? Live without their needs being met? Spend their money on a product that's ok, but not quite what they want? I (or anyone else besides TD) can't make and sell 2pc cones to them. The handy ones can make their own from CP's script, but everyone is SOL. How is that fair?
How about this hypothetical situation- pretend TD makes crap cones. Let's say their quality, manufacturing and materials, is total rubbish. For the sake of the argument let's say that I have the manufacturing capabilities to laser cut them from premium materials, cnc form the closure details, and because of my superior manufacturing capabilities can offer them at a lower price point. But I can't w/o infringing. So then what are consumers to do? Suffer a poor quality product, or no product if TD went out of business for making shoddy gear, until the patent expired in 20yrs?
(Please do not accuse me of accusing TD of making shoddy gear- just a hypothetical scenario. I've never seen TD cones first hand, but have heard nothing but good things about them from various blogs and consumer reviews.)