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Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: patents on 01/08/2012 18:12:00 MST Print View


That isn't the intent in the US.

You have to disclose so it can be protected. It is protected so you can make $$$. This encourages innovation and research.

You have it assbackwards.

Alan Bradley
Re Disagree.. on 01/08/2012 18:45:32 MST Print View

"It isn't just "technically" the case in the US. It is the LAW."
By technically I meant that its essentially unenforceable, either because it is viewed as unjustifiable (an undeleted bad law) or as you say it just isn't economical to enforce it against individuals, and thus no-one, not even patent holders expect to use that rule.

"In many ways it is like napster with the script writer being napster and the op being a downloaded of music. It might become worth enforcing if enough violators use the script to myog caldera cones."
I disagree.
Also, music is copyrighted not patented, and wouldnt it be more like playing the song (from ear) on your own instrument(s), in private.
In the unlikely event that Trail Designs started suing MYOGers, the MYOGers would probably just use a different solution, and it would almost certainly create bad feeling against Trail Designs but that is beside the point.

"Do you not understand that by enabling a multitude of users to make their own patent infringing products instead of buying them has the same end result: robbing the patent holder of their income stream from their patent!"
You don't need the script to make a MYOG frustum windshield, its just a tool (that is useful for other frustum based things). It is also offered on a request basis ie limited.

"It is the patent holder losing income."
Assuming MYOG persons wouldnt simply use a different solution.
Any MYOG has this effect on companies selling stuff.
If you object to be people making their own frustum windshields on the basis of loss income on a commercially available item, you may as well object to all MYOG of commercially available items.

I think the goodwill and ideas from MYOG should help the company.

I don't see the point of continuing this discussion:
I like Trail Designs.
I like the script writer.
The above two groups are not in dispute with one another.

NB as it is you who is accusing others in non US countries of infringement, I think its best if you look up their rules.

(livingontheroad) - M
Re: Re: patents on 01/08/2012 19:23:24 MST Print View


That isn't the intent in the US.

You have to disclose so it can be protected. It is protected so you can make $$$. This encourages innovation and research.

You have it assbackwards"

Not really.

For instance, you might patent a cone-like stove windscreen/support device with a row of air holes at bottom, if you are stupid enough to make your patent that narrow.

I can patent essentially the same device with two roles of air holes if I claim it as an improvement. I can claim it as an improvement, and no one even verifies it either. They take my word for it, I make up some data and its a done deal.

The only thing protected is the *usually* narrow specific claim in the patent, until someone else challenges it. Because I improved it, I am allowed to claim that improvement. That is the reality of how it works. If I want, I can prevent YOU from selling any improved versions of your own invention, without paying ME a royalty, if I try hard enough, and companies do every day. I can own any improvements to YOUR device, even if you own the rights to the basic device.

Since the object of all business is continual improvement of your product, as to not become out-dated, what did disclosing your patent accomplish? Did it protect it, yes, but in a very very narrow sense.

For many things, there are existing examples of prior art too that negate patents when challenged. Especially for simple things like ....maybe having a windscreen that also supports your pot. It does not matter that no one ever SOLD one before, if a picture, or article or something shows that some form of X ever existed, a patent can be ruled invalid. Happens every day.

The truth is, patents offer very little protection unless you have lots of $$$ to defend them. And to do that, it has to make A LOT $$$ to be worthwile. Obtaining one is cheap and easy. Defending it is $$$$.

Many companies, will NOT patent proprietary processes because they do not want to disclose them to competition that they have a technological advantage over. Doing so does NOT protect them, at all. It THREATENS them, because there is usually a way around almost every patent. Especially in electronics and chemical processing industries.

Edited by livingontheroad on 01/08/2012 19:32:28 MST.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: Re: patents on 01/08/2012 19:47:55 MST Print View

Sorry Martin. You are wrong in your post I replied to. Go look up the law, the framers writing at the time of the constitution...You misstated the INTENT of patents. So all the rest is pointless. I understand it quite well.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re Disagree.. on 01/08/2012 20:00:22 MST Print View

Alan you can argue All you want. Name me some countries since you threw out most. Heck, you haven't named one. Are you hoping since I'm American I just won't know? US which is most relevant is not. Canada reads the same IMO. So that is most people on here.

Yeah. Reread my post on napster. I clearly state intellectual property rights. The analogy is good. One was individual users violating copyrights. The other was violating patents. The economics didn't support a suit on individuals other than to set an example and scare potential violators into paying up.

Again you keep trying to lump all myog together. Only protected by patents are relevant. Non patented items are fair game.

It doesn't matter if violates claim they wouldn't violate. Legally you don't just assume this. The violator already violated the patent. They don't get to claim they only did it because it was free. You can sue for lost income. There are several methods available to recover lost revenue and this is one. Believe me I have seen it done.

(livingontheroad) - M
patents on 01/08/2012 20:02:24 MST Print View

I understand it very well too.

In my line of work I have multiple patents, and also occassionally take part in defending them, as well as studying others patents, circumventing them, and boxing the competition up.

The bottom line in businees is continual improvement. That is what makes the world go-round.

It is specifically the allowance for ME to modify YOUR patent, and then claim THAT as my own that makes things work.

Edited by livingontheroad on 01/08/2012 20:05:46 MST.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: patents on 01/08/2012 20:05:09 MST Print View

True Martin.

And yes nearly everything ;) in your post is gospel

(livingontheroad) - M
restated on 01/08/2012 20:48:44 MST Print View

Maybe I should put it a different way:

Yes, patents provide protection. Limited protections. As long as you keep paying the fees and keep the registration active, you have sole rights to exactly what was specified in your patent. No more, but possibly less. For a limited period of time, or until someone else successfully challenges your patent.

Patents are granted with little review by government patent examiners. Many are not valid if challenged. It is granted upon request basically, and just left for lawyers to really decide later if its someone else is interested.

But by designed limits, the allowance is made for others to learn about your disclosed invention, modify your inventions, and then claim those modifications as their own. And the reason for that is..... innovation and progress.

What the OP was doing, was exactly that, and for himself no less. And even if he wanted to find a way to patent and sell an improved version of the Caldera cone somehow, he would be within his rights, the law, and the spirit of our patent system.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: patents on 01/08/2012 22:47:26 MST Print View

Michael, you clearly feel very strongly about this issue. On the point of disclosure having a societal benefit and that being one of the intents of setting up a patent system, your idea disagrees with what I've read in patent law, discussed with patent attorneys and seen in legal historeis and from constitutional scholars. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's summary of that one (of four) intents of patent law:

"In accordance with the original definition of the term "patent," patents facilitate and encourage disclosure of innovations into the public domain for the common good. If inventors did not have the legal protection of patents, in many cases, they would prefer or tend to keep their inventions secret. Awarding patents generally makes the details of new technology publicly available, for exploitation by anyone after the patent expires, or for further improvement by other inventors. Furthermore, when a patent's term has expired, the public record ensures that the patentee's idea is not lost to humanity."

Other intents of patent law do include motivating inventors by allowing them to profit from their ideas. But that is not the only intent.

Interstingly (or not?), I've had this argument arise in two romantic relationships. In each, her father had been a smart, clever guy - an elite university prof in one case - who each fancied themselves an inventor. Now, while they pursued patents and got some (including a hybrid vehicle circa 1970), they never made any money at it. I quickly learned to avoid the whole topic, but I inferred there'd been a husband-wife conflict in each case. He arguing that a clever invention would be a financial windfall and she experiencing more single-parenting, expenses, and NO windfall, ever.

The rub, in my relationships, is that they would push me to patent my ideas, despite their father never having profitted. I found it akin to Catholics believing in miracles without ever experiencing them and consistently being denied the miracles they so often prayed for.

Beliefs (in miracles, fantastic rewards from patents, the Great American Novel, etc) are strange - not only do they deny any evidence or statute to the contrary, they get even more entrenched by pesky, annoying facts to the contrary.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

The Smell Test on 01/08/2012 23:20:12 MST Print View

Let me explain a perspective that might help resolve this discussion. First of all, my background is in mechanical engineering and I have been issued over 30 patents domestically and more worldwide. I have written disclosures, given depositions and created defensive patent strategies. For many years, I worked with Ralph, a patent attorney and he gave me key advice with respect to patents, circumventing patents and challenging patents. His simple statement was “will it pass the smell test?”. His view was that people tend to look at the trees and not the forest.
The law is very clear. Patents are issued and have associated claims that give the inventor (or rather assignee) rights to the intellectual property. This is the easy part; TD has claims on the Caldera Cone and the claims are very defined and specific. Beyond the clear cut case, other uses must pass the smell test.

If bought a Caldera Cone , made an copy of the pattern (say for the Snow Peak 700) and made a copy for myself would that pass the smell test? I believe that it does.
If I sent this pattern out all of members of BackpackingLight, Sierra Club, Hammock Forum and every other UL backpacking site, would that pass the smell test? Probably not. My opinion (and mine alone) would say that no, because, I feel that that would potentially be taking away income from the inventor. They earned the right to make income from their patent and I respect that decision.

Now for the greyer area. Take the first case: I buy a Caldera Cone and make a copy for myself. I am fine with that. Now should I be able to make say copies and give them out to friends of mine? My answer is no: It doesn’t pass the smell test. Why would I make copies when I can show them the TD site? Am I trying to save them money?

Now, a script is written to make a frustum shape to hold a pot. The script allows you to input your pot size, stove to pot height, vent patterns and a way to split the frustum. Does this pass the smell test? At the end of the day, your actions need to pass the smell test with your peers and people you respect. Can you hold your head high and say I feel good about my action and that I believe what I am doing is acceptable. If you have any doubt, you better think about it again. If you are planning to use this pattern, read through this thread and see what your peers say about it.

I myself might consider using the pattern for educational reasons in order to understand how the thing works and what I like about the concept (I like to tinker). If I were looking for a backpacking solution, I would buy a Trail Designs product. Both decisions pass my smell test.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: Re: patents on 01/08/2012 23:23:23 MST Print View

"United States patent law was established "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" as provided by the United States Constitution."

--so there the US patent rationale.

Interesting the part you pulled from wiki is the SECOND rationale. The first and third and fourth are aligned exactly with what I already harped upon too much - incentivize the inventor to invent and commercialize new and improved ideas by offering a temporary monopoly and legal protection. So it would seem the second intent you pulled is a hmmmm secondary reason for patents.

Patents history from wiki

"In 500 BC, in the Greek city of Sybaris (located in what is now southern Italy), "encouragement was held out to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury, the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year."[5]

Patents in the modern sense originated in 1474, when the Republic of Venice enacted a decree that new and inventive devices, once put into practice, had to be communicated to the Republic to obtain the right to prevent others from using them.[8]"

--not really sure what basis or rationale your sources are using to contradict listed examples of historical reasons for patents.

-//. And to my feelings. Very strongly might be too much. Strongly would be more correct. But honestly it is one area I feel capable to comment upon. I can't advise on stoves or sewing but I feel compelled to share my knowledge when I have it.

I want to make sure people realize that there are real and mrasurable repercussions of infringIng on patents. It disincentives future innovation. Trail designs might slash R&D since people copy their product instead of buying it. People may go the route of trade secret and we all lose (reason 2 for patents) the benefit of shared knowledge. Ripping off a patent is hurting somebody. It isn't ok.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: The Smell Test on 01/08/2012 23:25:33 MST Print View

Very good post Jon.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The Smell Test on 01/09/2012 01:13:41 MST Print View

Excellent post. Bravo!

Alan Bradley
UK links for: private use exluded from infingement on 01/09/2012 04:59:11 MST Print View

For the UK
private use is excluded from infringement:

the act itself:

The script writer did attempt to not tread too heavily on Trail Designs toes (friendly MYOGness): the script access is limited, time has passed, Trail Designs are established and still going, and not in dispute with the script writer.
There are other tools that will make frustums, the vents cutouts joins etc are easy to add yourself, so somehow banning the script would achieve little. And, of course, such a tool is not even required, if maths is a weak point, you could just ask someone who knows the maths for making a frustum to write it out. Actually the zen stoves site has shown that maths.

A frustum windshield or cylinder windshield with conic cup is a simple idea: I don't think a company should be allowed to prevent private MYOG use. However, as Trail Designs invested effort and time in bringing their entire system (eg 12-10 stove and vent configurations) to manufacture and market, a (time-limited) defence against other companies stealing said work seems reasonable: they put in the work to bring to market: a lot different from private MYOGers cutting a frustum from foil. Hopefully, their patent offers that protection (I don't think you ever know for sure till the patent is challenged in court). They are also protected by goodwill: I don't think a hostile company set up by carbon copying Trail Designs products would succeed.

I think there is room for both MYOG and Trail Designs frustum stoves: there will always be people (almost certainly the majority) who will never have time or don't want to build such mechanical things and will buy off the shelf. The two should complement each other: MYOGers can make useful suggestions to Trail Designs.

Also, in the UK, patents must "have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject":

I think US patent laws are wrong to count MYOG it as an infringement, it is interfering too much with an individuals freedom, any small (if any I say) commercial effect is not worth such unpleasantness. A viable company should be able to withstand a bit of MYOG, and may even benefit from it. But if that is the US population's informed democratic choice then that is their choice to make.

I still think it is of no help to anyone to get upset by MYOG.

Edited by ahbradley on 01/09/2012 12:06:30 MST.

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
Angry people - Please explain on 01/09/2012 10:30:23 MST Print View

I don't know anything about patent law whether in the US or UK. I thought I understood patents to be a way to stop someone making money by copying someone elses invention?


Having used the script (for my own use) to make a cone for an MSR Titan Kettle and seen/handled a 'Real' Caldera cone for an MSR Titan Kettle, I can say that they are different in shape(proportion) and has different fastenings. The aluminium used in the CC is different from any I have been able to buy. I also do not use a 12-10 stove with it (or a copy of one ;) )

so, the only thing shared is the concept of a cone shaped windshield supporting a pot

Question: Is it the basic concept which is covered by a patent?

And if there is nothing being sold by the MYOGer's, do MYOGers really really infringe the patent and 'Rip Off' TD?

I am quite puzzled why some folks are getting so upset.

Especially as they appear to not really know (or have chosen to find out?) about what the script helps MYOGers to make and it's development.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Angry people - Please explain on 01/09/2012 10:45:41 MST Print View

From my reading of the patent, the use of a frustumic shape as both pot stand and windscreen, with vents at top and bottom is covered.

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
OK on 01/09/2012 10:49:47 MST Print View

OK fair enough - thanks

and my second question - does it break the patent if nothing is being sold?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Angry people - Please explain on 01/09/2012 11:09:07 MST Print View

>"I am quite puzzled why some folks are getting so upset."

Generally, when people are getting upset, it is about beliefs, not facts.

If I tell you that Greenland produces most of the world's citrus fruit you might point out my error, but if I persist, you'll write me off as an idiot and move on.

But if I state that society should provide medical care for all its members - something that can't be proved or not - you might see me as brillant or a moron AND we can argue about it endlessly while getting nowhere.

Posters are clearly valuing innovation, disclosure, societal benefits, personal freedom, inventor interests, corporate personhood, return on investment, and being legal at all times differently from other posters. I value the first four more and the last four less. But other people would rank them differently because their values or experiences or assumptions differ. Their past experiences won't change, their values rarely do, and their assumptions can change only if they're willing.

I thought I knew (I assumed) personal use was an (unenforceable) infringement on a patent but I now find out that while it is true in North America, it is not everywhere else. I learned something.

And I've had reaffirmed something I've long known:

IP is an emotional issue among creative people.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Angry people - Please explain on 01/09/2012 11:13:34 MST Print View

"But if I state that society should provide medical care for all its members - something that can't be proved or not - you might see me as brillant or a moron AND we can argue about it endlessly while getting nowhere."

Now where would you get an idea like that..... ;-)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: OK on 01/09/2012 11:19:23 MST Print View

>"and my second question - does it break the patent if nothing is being sold?"

"it" = the script to assist in generating the pattern?

No infringement - the patent itself has to disclosure all the tricks (but not the math). Disseminating patent info or mathematics isn't patent infringement, although it may facilitate someone else's infringement.

Someone could tell me about a cool cave or hot spring on private property. They haven't trespassed. I can choose to trespass or not. I usually chose not to in the past and I always choose not to now. But people differ in that:

"As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me" -Woody Guthrie