Open source 3-D files are ripping my patents Pending
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  1. #1
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    Default Open source 3-D files are ripping my patents Pending

    I got all exited about this as I am into the one about 20 grand and haven't even paid out the tooling... yet someone posted files for my product.
    Now, Thingiverse is handing out my work.
    Ok, it hurt my last remaining feeling.
    After a case of beer, I decided there probably wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

    And, well.. the printed version is no comparison to the one I make.
    I kinda need to chill on that, if someone prints one, it isn't going to be near as good as the real-deal.
    So, I am wondering, is there any defense to intellectual property?
    I dunno. I probably am getting out of control again...
    Thanks guys!
    Mark

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    To my understanding even with a full patent and legal team the patent is only as good as you are willing to spend to enforce it. Ive seen some large companies run small shops into the ground dancing in the courtroom and in the end they get to make the product as the small company cant keep up with the cost of support/enforcement.

    Definitely check with a lawyer.

    The best way ive seen is make it first, make it fast and make it the best. Also make sure everyone knows YOU are the one that did it first. There is some loyalty in end users to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSCustoms View Post
    To my understanding even with a full patent and legal team the patent is only as good as you are willing to spend to enforce it. Ive seen some large companies run small shops into the ground dancing in the courtroom and in the end they get to make the product as the small company cant keep up with the cost of support/enforcement.

    Definitely check with a lawyer.

    The best way ive seen is make it first, make it fast and make it the best. Also make sure everyone knows YOU are the one that did it first. There is some loyalty in end users to that.
    +1 "initial consultation" with a Lawster - IP specialist, of course - is not terribly expensive. Honest and experienced one will tell you what BSC just told you. Dasn't mean you are "helpless", but there's only so much can be done "affordably". A "cease and desist" letter - also cheap - will probably NOT be good-enough if any form of "open" is in play, but you have to do it or you are seen as not "defending".

    Page Two:

    Complex World. Many Countries. Many Civilizations. Many clever minds and hands. Long history. Old stuff from hundreds of years ago dredged up and put onto the 'net.

    Hardly a Patent as was ever issued a serious researcher cannot find "prior art". The researchers of today have tools and FAST access to information the old patent offices themselves could barely dream of having, even with a Government or a King backing them.

    Unix. The operating system. Was initially developed to keep track of Bell Labs patents. And at the outset, not much of anything else.

    NOW it - or any other 'puter OS - can find prior art at a faster rate than ever. Prior art as might have invalidated a great many of the very patents it was intended to protect.

    Why is it not done every day, all day, all year?

    Because those who can hire that level of expertise do not WANT another entity's patent invalidated. They would rather negotiate an advantageous license to use it, then join in its defense.

    Cheaper that way. Just got harder for the NEXT guy to climb over that higher and stronger wall. Just got cheaper per-player to share-out the cost of beating the economic snot out of any challenger(s), too.

    Each one they beat - easy and cheap ones first, of course - makes their case look better against the next. Wall keeps getting higher and stronger. Even when it is dead-wrong. No morality to that. Do not expect it.

    As a rule God is on the side of the big squadrons against the small ones.
    (Roger de Rabutin, 1677, and there was "prior art", even then!)

    "make it first, make it fast and make it the best."

    And have your NEXT "winner" already in the pipeline. You'll need one.

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    First things first - have you contacted Thingiverse and asked them to pull it down? It might be that easy.

    Secondly - if it is an exact knock-off and you have bothered to copyright your work, you can ask for a takedown under DMCA.

    You might find that Thingiverse will just willingly pull it down to stay out of the fight. Might just be an easy phone call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowshooze View Post
    Now, Thingiverse is handing out my work.
    Linky please ?

    So we can try and understand just where your coming from.

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    Not knowing what the product is, this may be a more complicated topic than already indicated.

    First, for many small things, if people can find it quickly and buy it quickly, they likely will, because 3D printing is generally slow. It's super wonderful for things you cannot easily buy, but that's it.
    (This isn't new. There is zero legal impediment to your making your own socks. Do you?....)
    So the actual *revenue loss* might be very low.

    Second, if the market niche is exactly wrong, and the reality is that the only people who want the thing are the sorts who will 3d print a feeble one and be happy with, the actual lost revenue might be zilch.

    Third, riffing on the patent issue - even if you DO get granted a sound patent, and you CAN enforce it, it often won't matter. Patents aren't allowed for the 'only one way' to do something, and more to the point, people are *very good* at working around them. (History is full of this.)

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    The situation is more like a copyright violation if they have your exact files up. Sure people can work around patents and you have to prosecute them but I would really recommend contacting thingiverse about taking them down if they're an exact match.

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    I seem to be late to the party, but I would say, files are copyrightable, ideas (the tool they give details say for making) can be patented, unfortunately for the patent holder, this is exorbitantly expensive, and has a shelf life, of 20 years, where as copyrights are pretty cheap and are lifetime protection, or in some cases even longer. But the object, tool, chemistry, ect in question has to be able to be both useful and unique, so say patenting a new type of wrench, wont fly, instead you have to make sure to patent the new addition to the wrench, and not the whole thing, say a wrench for a fractal shaped bolt head, would mean patenting the fractal patterned head, and describe why it is better than existing bolt heads,

    also, on the aforementioned, "they can just find another way to do said thing" this is why many corporations do what is called "bubble" patenting, where they try to think of every procedure to complete a given task, and then patent the tools for doing it. or their uniqueness to each other, and previous designs that might be similar. not cheap, but when applying that way, is cheaper than a separate patent for each component and its method of accomplishing the goal given.

    If you have not contacted thingiverse though I would definitely do so, as they really don't care about disseminating ideas or anything, it is just a repository to give potential people interested in 3D printing, something to print with their printers, to get them to buy their first printer. and that is it, ie, marketing gimmick, so fighting a war with a patent holder is just not in their best interests. I doubt they would even bother to look and see if the claim is legitimate. I have heard of them just pulling things, to be "better safe than sorry" so to speak.

    As for the prints not being as good, I think that if the files are accurate to the dimensions, then they can be used to generate CNC code as well as 3D printer code, its all just down to the software used to do interpretation, I have an all in one unit that does laser cutting, and engraving, CNC milling, and 3D printing, and all I have to do is use reversal of the shape, then do a subtraction from a solid block, so I have a cavity that is going to be "printed around" the air space that the part created, and flip it upside down, and I can then use that same code to cut away the material, as it will pace the cutter head around working its way down, thinking it is working its way up laying down material but instead it is removing it. So I would not count on everyone who uses those files just squirting plastic, some might cut it from metal and make a part, (or cut it from plastic or what ever it is intended to be made from)

    So while your "do it first, faster and higher quality" is good, but proving you are the originator, have more ideas you are developing (and purchasing is supporting more great ideas) , is the best option. That and provide customer support, so people will go to you to get something that if there is an issue, or question, they know they can get those answers, and help, then keep track of your customers, so you are not offering help to people who bought from the counterfeiter is all, any one with any decency will not fault you and will support your right to refuse help to people who did not buy your product since you designed it and the counterfeiters did not ask, but instead stole your work.

    If a very large company that you can pile up a ton of value to take from them in court and might be able to convince a judge to agree with you has done this, then you should be able to get a lawyer that will take your case just for the cut, thus eliminating the "dance around till they run out of money and temper" since they stand to lose a lot, and if they dont have any chance of winning, you can hurt them over a lot more because lawsuits over emotional trauma and the like when its a little guy against a behemoth, especially if things like stagnating your ability to be creative, can be argued and no company wants to go down that long dangerous and expensive road, unless they are pretty sure they can win. just some ideas and thoughts on your situation. good luck I hope you can solve it to your satisfaction.

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    Your patent attorney should be handling this. If you don't have one, get one.

    Just about everything on the internet pertaining to law is anecdotal. Someone else's reality isn't your reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Vise View Post
    Your patent attorney should be handling this. If you don't have one, get one.

    Just about everything on the internet pertaining to law is anecdotal. Someone else's reality isn't your reality.
    Agreed strongly.

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    Maybe Shooze can give us an update? What's the scoop?


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