This thread has been incredibly informative.
While I disagree with the way the US patent law is written, it is clear to me now that making my own "frustum" windscreen technically infringes on TD's IP. I realize that the costs in both dollar and public relations for TD to take action against myself and other "clone" builder would far exceed the $35 he supposedly lost (debatable) in a potential sale, but it's still wrong by the letter of the law.
I still feel this is unfair for these two reasons. #1- In the case where I know I can make for myself some item that is patented, that is an improvement in function, design, craftsmanship, or whatever, than what the patentholder is offering. #2- I'm financially limited, but have manufacturing resources at my disposal. If I can't afford to purchase such an item as is made by the patent holder, by the letter of the law, I can stare at my tools and materials all day and not permitted to make it. I would have to just do without.
In my own case, both reasons are true. I am financially limited and I konw I can make a product that better fits my needs than what is offered by the patent holder. Though I'm sure I could squeeze $35 out of my budget to by a TD CC, but if I did, that money is taken away from something I need more. And if I did by a TD CC, I would be buying a product that I would be less satisfied with than one I could make for myself. I don't like the dovetail joint, nor do I like the way their fissure connection works. I'm also completely underwhelmed with the 12-10 burner. Here's a picture of one I made back in 2005-I feel the complexity in making it isn't worth the effort- and it's bulky.
My only option would be to call up TD and ask for permission to diy one, and if they told me no, that would be the end of it.
The driving factor for me to make my own gear is mostly for financial reasons. If I had to purchase all the gear I need to hike, backpack, or bikepack, I would not be doing any of those activities. I simply can't afford it. I'm the sole provider for a large family. The problem of purchasing gear is compounded when you consider I have kids who are coming to the age of wanting to go outdoors with me and also need gear.