Well, as the originator of the troublesome clone generator script, I've been pondering this thread, and I guess it's time to comment.
It was never my intention to cause damage to Rand and Trail Designs, and I hope it's obvious that I admire the ingenuity of the Caldera Cone concept. My script started life making conic sections for the inner wall of my red bull burners, trying to make a larger vapour chamber. This eventually became the burner with an inner jet ring. Playing with these walls, I realised the obvious; they were miniature Caldera Cones, so a few tweaks to the PostScript conic section generator produced the first, 200-line script published on OM. People seemed to enjoy playing with this script, so it kept growing, and it is now about 2200 lines.
The legality of publication of the script on OM was based on UK patent law, which, as Alan has shown, clearly differs from US patent law, in that personal, non-commercial use is not a patent violation under UK law. That US law is different in this respect was quite a shock to me.
The morality of the script is open to interpretation; from the outset, I made it clear that it was a copy of Trail Design's Caldera Cone (mentioned in the first post on the OM thread which people could google, and later with explicit links to TD's website). I have also stressed to anyone receiving the script that it is not for commercial use, and the instructions provided with the script state TD's IP ownership, and provide a link to their website and the products they provide.
When someone on OM who had made a clone went on to sell their MSR Titan kettle it was made for, they advertised the clone as a freebie to go with it. When someone else commented that the flissure clone might encourage a sale, I made comment, given that I'd expressly said that the script was not to be used for commercial purposes, even though the clone was only a 'free adjunct' to the actual item for sale; the MSR Titan kettle. You can read the exchange here:
As for the use of the name 'Caldera Clone', that was a deliberate choice, intended to be a nod of respect to Rand and co. I could have called it something like a Volcano (Volclono?) Stove, but that would have been disingenuous. I wanted the origin of the idea to be absolutely clear from the name, making no attempt to disguise where the idea came from. It was not an attempt to 'cash in' on Rand's invention, since the clone script is free. The same logic applies to the Flissure joint, and the Infernal wood-burning insert (which, as far as I know, no-one has used yet; I certainly haven't).
I have always thought of discussion of clones to be free publicity for the real Caldera Cone; I expect that a significant number of OM readers first encountered the concept via the Clone thread. I cannot say if any of those readers have bought a Caldera Cone as a result. I'm pretty sure that a lot of OM and BPL readers, even those on the MYOG sections, like to read about MYOG, but when it actually comes down to it, end up buying something because of a lack of time, inclination or ability. So, of the small number of people who have been given a script, I'd guess about one third may have made a Clone. And I suspect that almost all of those people are 'tinkerers' for whom MYOG is as much of a hobby as actual backpacking. I also suspect that many of these clone builders have moved on to another project, and may not actually use the clone as a stove.
Until Rand posted that TD _do_ still sell the Fissure Cone, I had taken it as read that they had abandoned the idea, due to production difficulties mentioned on a BPL thread Help me brainstorm a Caldera Cone (TM) for the FireLite 475ml Ti Trapper's Mug. Since a number of people asking for the script have also mentioned that they were attracted by the Flissure variant, it seems that I wasn't the only one unaware that TD still sold the Fissure Cone. Not having seen the Fissure joint, I didn't really understand the tolerance issue. The Flissure joint used in the script is pretty simple to make, and doesn't need very close tolerance maunfacture. Clearly, it would be more expensive to manufacture, due to the extra material required for the overlap, and the waste between the two halves, and the extra machining. But, if Rand wants to use the idea, he's welcome to use it, freely. And if he wants to use the Strata insert to allow a Cone user to use another pan with a Cone (which I think is a genuine innovation, building on Rand's patent), he's welcome to use that, freely, but non-exclusively.
If Rand had asked my advice on whether to patent or not, I think I'd have advised not to patent, given the cost of gaining and sustaining a patent (even without legal costs of defence), and the potential market. I certainly hope he recoups his costs, but that's a choice every inventor has to make for themselves. When I came up with the SqueezeBox Stove, I considered patenting the idea, but, for the reasons above, I chose not to. Not being entrepreneurial, I chose to put the design into the public domain, offering a design script similar to that for the Clone. The SqueezeBox Stove won Alpkit's CoLab design competition at The Outdoors Show at the NEC in Birmingham in 2009, even though that was a very mainstream outdoor exhibition, and not a lightweight backpacking event.
So where does this leave me, and what should I do about giving people the script? Well, from a strictly legal point-of-view, Rand's patent is a US patent, so has no bearing outside the US. Thus, there's no legal impediment to me giving the script to anyone outside the US, certainly not in the UK. So, I think I'll extend the comments about TD's IP ownership, and point out that patent law varies from country to country, and that each user should determine if making their own Clone is illegal in their locale, and consider the morality for themselves. I'll also suggest that if they publish any images or descriptions of their clone, they credit TD with the original idea, and provide a link to TD's website.