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View uMinded's profile

Ethics On Replicating Products

by uMinded
posted 04-15-2015 07:08 PM


35 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30584 posts in 3309 days


#1 posted 04-15-2015 07:13 PM

It’s not if you make your own jigs that “may resemble” a marketed item. We all do that. Simply don’t market it as an original idea. As far as your personal use, go for it.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

6947 posts in 2692 days


#2 posted 04-15-2015 07:17 PM

If it’s just for you and you have no intention of selling them, then there’s no reason not to. Whether it’s a $100 GRRipper or a $1000 FMT jig it doesn’t matter. When repairing small engines, I usually make my own gaskets, in doing so am I stealing money from the pockets of Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh, Kohler and Wisconsin?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 2201 days


#3 posted 04-15-2015 07:19 PM

IP is a stupid concept. Make it and use it. Stay out for court by not charging for it. But if a 6 pack is offered for your time….

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View finns's profile

finns

171 posts in 4087 days


#4 posted 04-15-2015 07:30 PM

I say build it as long as you don’t market it. I’d lay low on the free plans as well.

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 2147 days


#5 posted 04-15-2015 08:11 PM

Why back when I took a CLE refresher course in IP I believe the attorney teaching the course said that people could download patents and make the device for their personal use without violating federal patent law. But that was a while ago and I can’t give you legal advice.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View unbob's profile

unbob

810 posts in 2874 days


#6 posted 04-15-2015 08:24 PM

I made the tennon and coping jig above from photos of a German one, not available in the US. I would not sell this item because for sure it is has patents “Aigner Comerex”. There wouldn’t be a market in the US anyway, as it is a whole another concept in a stuck in the mud market.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2782 posts in 3609 days


#7 posted 04-15-2015 08:26 PM

Patents expire. Find any product with an expired patent (such as anything for sale 20 years ago) and make as many as you like and sell them if you want. Trademarks and copyrights don’t expire, so you’ll have to come up with your own name for it, but that’s not asking much.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View uMinded's profile

uMinded

115 posts in 2823 days


#8 posted 04-15-2015 09:11 PM

IP is a slippery slope indeed but personal use is allowed in all cases. Ironic seeing how the whole point of establishing the patent system was to encourage open ideas and sharing of innovation while protecting the inventor for long enough to recoup R&D and some profits. Now days I have seen electronics patents that have been granted for 40-60 years!

Now what about providing free plans for others to use? The Russian who made the Portable Slot Mortiser would be hankering for a lawsuit if in the USA but then I discovered Stumpy Nubs version and I wonder if they have had any legal pushback.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2865 days


#9 posted 04-15-2015 09:28 PM

Why do you want to build this thing? Not disparaging you for wanting to, I’m all for anyone making their life in the shop easier. But do you cut a ton of M&Ts? Only asking because I’m curious, never heard of this jig until now.

View uMinded's profile

uMinded

115 posts in 2823 days


#10 posted 04-15-2015 11:07 PM

I have discovered my passion is to create tools that I can use to create tools. lol. I’ts funny as I use all hand tools for projects that I build but I love to build jigs that I will rarely ever use.

View TimberMagic's profile

TimberMagic

114 posts in 2150 days


#11 posted 04-15-2015 11:13 PM



I say build it as long as you don t market it. I d lay low on the free plans as well.

- finns

I’m with finns …

-- Lee

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5024 posts in 2959 days


#12 posted 04-15-2015 11:39 PM

I say build it for your own use….

View derosa's profile

derosa

1597 posts in 3807 days


#13 posted 04-16-2015 12:54 AM

I’ve been learning from my father-in-law that patent infringement is difficult line. Making something for your own personal use it perfectly fine, making a plan and sharing it that directly rips off a product can get you in trouble. If the company doesn’t have an patent on anything other then the actual product itself then it takes little to make a derivative that doesn’t infringe; this is usually the case when they just come up with an original way to use preexisting items that have expired patents.

-- A posse ad esse

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2782 posts in 3609 days


#14 posted 04-16-2015 02:08 AM

I work for a small engineering firm. We have only a handful of employees. After our development and prototyping, our products are contract manufactured – mostly in the US. But we created them – created the technology and the design. We have sold our products on 5 continents. Without patents – international patents – we would be destroyed by copiers. Some of these patent lawyers bill $500/hour. For us, although patents are very expensive, we have to have them.

Last year we had to lay some people off.

I imagine some of these jig companies are somewhat like us – just a small team of engineers and product development people.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10861 posts in 2457 days


#15 posted 04-16-2015 02:20 AM

I’d still make a copy myself. Unless you are selling it, it means nothing.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Ghidrah's profile

Ghidrah

667 posts in 2193 days


#16 posted 04-16-2015 03:09 AM

Disregard the FBI warning, try to make a copy of a DVD today; most players won’t let you do it, something to do with the intellectual property thing. Some entities go to some extremes to prevent an individual from creating a similar object even when it is an adapted item, (read improved).

Quite often I’m making a jig that helps me make a jig so I can continue with a project. Today you can get sued because the name of your company sounds like the name of another company; even when you’ve been around longer than the plaintiff. This happened to a business a couple towns over from me about 20 25 something yrs ago. Better Stones and Gardens, a 3rd or 4th gen landscaping co was forced to change their name because “Better Homes and Gardens” didn’t like it. Their money and lawyers claimed the landscaper was making profit off their name. Bitches PLEASE!!!

As a contrary statement to Col. Travis question, it isn’t how often a tool is used but whether it makes the project possible within quality/time parameters spent.

I don’t believe IP and patents are foolish, if one spends the time and money to develop an item then pulls a patent for it to try to make some money go for it. History shows us that ideas/concepts pop up all over the world often simultaneously. Whoever gets to the PO 1st is the winner even if it’s stolen. Everything manufactured today was built off the efforts of many different unconnected people over an extended period of time. I saw a panel sled a clever man named Nixon built; I constructed a similar but larger sled with a few more options. The only visual connection is it’s a sled.

Build your tool for you and don’t lose sleep over it.

-- I meant to do that!

View joey502's profile

joey502

558 posts in 2489 days


#17 posted 04-16-2015 04:23 AM



I have discovered my passion is to create tools that I can use to create tools. lol. I ts funny as I use all hand tools for projects that I build but I love to build jigs that I will rarely ever use.

- uMinded

There are many different aspects to woodworking/ making. I find myself in a perpetual state of shop remodeling. I have built and rebuilt cabinets, benches and workstations for no reason other than I am not happy with the look or function. Most of them where fine and functional the first time. My wife has quit asking why so much time, money and effort is spent on shop fixtures.

I think anything that makes your time enjoyable is the best use of it, keep doing what you do. In my mind it is not leisure time if you are working on things you need to get done.

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 4042 days


#18 posted 04-16-2015 05:48 AM

Regardless of what the law says, anyone can sue you for anything, especially when it comes to IP law. If you think otherwise, you should count your blessings that you’ve never been involved in an IP case.

Sure, make as many copies as you want for your own personal use, but if you get too famous for releasing plans to the public and Leigh sees you as a threat to their commercial interests, there is absolutely nothing stopping them from suing you into the ground for copying their patented design and for damages in the amount of any lost sales.

When an investor-backed company in California threatened to sue my wife’s company for trademark infringement because the logo was “confusingly similar” to theirs, an attorney from one of the best law firms in my state advised us to change our name.

Nevermind the fact that they did not own the word mark for their trademark (the word mark would have been too generic) and their product did not resemble ours. All they had was a design mark in the secondary trademark register. They also did not offer the same products for sale within 1500 miles of our area of operation, and the colors, fonts, graphic elements, and words in the logos were different. The roots of two words in our 3-word name were similar to the words in their 2-word name, but the contexts were completely different (possessive noun vs. adjective, and adjective vs. plural noun). Open-and-closed case, no infringement, right? That’s what you’d think if you spent dozens of hours poring over USPS trademark documents like I did, but you’d be wrong.

Our attorney told us a case like that typically costs $100k to defend if it goes to court, and at best we’d have a 50% chance of winning. It would cost us $10k just to appear in court if we called their bluff and it turned out not to be a bluff!

We spoke with another local business owner who went through the same hell. The company who went after him initially made a verbal agreement to let him continue using the name, but after they got an investor, they came back later and took him to court. In the end he was $10k poorer and still had to change his business name.

In addition to that, my employer was also was sued by a multi-billion dollar company several years ago for patent infringement. Through the course of the lawsuit, we provided evidence that we did not use their invention in our software (if we did, our software would have been too slow and would have required too much memory to be useful), and we almost got their patent thrown out on grounds that it was incomplete, obvious, and did not reference any of the prior art. Under patent law, your invention must be new and non-obvious to anyone with average skill in the art. Disclosure of the invention must include sufficient information for anyone to reproduce the invention, but the code they had on file was missing all of the key parts of the algorithm. Through the court proceedings, we even discovered that they had tried and failed to produce a piece of software that actually did what their patent claimed they had invented. Again, open-and-closed case, no infringement on a patent that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place, right? Nope. They managed to salvage the patent by adding a bunch of extra language to practically every single claim in the patent. Not once did they even have to say specifically what part(s) of their patent our software supposedly infringed, but it took 5-1/2 years and cost us $1 million before we caught them on a serious “technicality” and they hurriedly worked with our attorneys to draw up a settlement. I can’t even begin to imagine how much the lawsuit cost them. I was pretty sure from the start that their whole goal was to sue us into the ground and buy us up cheap. In hindsight, I still think that was their goal but they didn’t even care that much about us—we were just caught in the crossfire as they were trying to slow one of their larger competitors from gobbling up market share in an emerging market.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7659 posts in 3175 days


#19 posted 04-16-2015 06:51 AM

I made my own crude version of the GRR Ripper out of complete frustration in not being able to buy the product locally.

Now I see the supplier One wood that was the closest to me here in QLD has dropped them also.

Makes one wonder why this is happening and its also now the third time to my knowledge of monitoring the product it has occured.

So then to ponder why its not available in any other specialist WW store or even a department store.

I was prepared to buy two of the 200 series but availibility prevented me from doing so.

I even attempted to buy fom the USA but freight costs were prohibitive.

Go figure

-- Regards Rob

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3351 days


#20 posted 04-16-2015 07:00 AM

I would make a pantorouter before bothering with that Leigh thing.
http://woodgears.ca/pantorouter/

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6348 posts in 3280 days


#21 posted 04-16-2015 08:02 AM

What you do in the privacy of your own bedroom is no ones business as long as you keep it in your bedroom.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8406 posts in 4346 days


#22 posted 04-16-2015 09:24 AM

There are very few original ideas left. The vast majority of products in the world were influenced or inspired by something else that already existed. Make it, enjoy, and be proud of your efforts…just don’t market it.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 3181 days


#23 posted 04-16-2015 11:26 AM



IP is a slippery slope indeed but personal use is allowed in all cases. Ironic seeing how the whole point of establishing the patent system was to encourage open ideas and sharing of innovation while protecting the inventor for long enough to recoup R&D and some profits. Now days I have seen electronics patents that have been granted for 40-60 years!

- uMinded

This is so often misunderstood so thank you for pointing this out. The property part of IP is terribly misleading since it isn’t really a matter of ownership. Patent and copyright are now generally viewed as protecting the innate god-given rights of creators rather than simply a tool to encourage creation of a better world for all (at the cost of inhibiting the basic freedoms of everyone else to make things and transfer their ownership to others). Heck, even the U.S. constitution lists patents and copyright as an optional tool the congress may use, not a basic right of creators.

The Congress shall have power ... 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;

In short? The direct answer is that the whole point of patents is so that you CAN make your own and even make money on your copies when the patent expires. That’s why there is the mandatory disclosure. My personal morals are with those of others here and say that you acknowledge copying the design and only take credit for your modifications and craftsmanship. Given that you bothered to ask this questions, there Clearly is no hazard of you doing anything else. :]

As to durations of copyrights and patents? Many are insane. Often, there is a better balance to be struck between the benefit of encouraging development and the cost of inhibiting its widespread application.

View Brett's profile

Brett

49 posts in 2300 days


#24 posted 04-16-2015 11:52 AM



I say build it as long as you don t market it. I d lay low on the free plans as well.

- finns

I agree

-- Brett, United Kingdom, http://fasteningsolutionsuk.com

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2782 posts in 3609 days


#25 posted 04-16-2015 08:22 PM

Does anybody see the similarity between the names Mountain Dew
and Sierra Mist?

If you are big, you can get away with it.

There is a local establishment here called “easy auctions”. It starts with a red “e”, ends with a green “y”, with a blue “s” and a yellow “e” in the middle. The big guys at e**y haven’t noticed them yet.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View uMinded's profile

uMinded

115 posts in 2823 days


#26 posted 04-17-2015 08:34 PM



I would make a pantorouter before bothering with that Leigh thing.
http://woodgears.ca/pantorouter/

- Rick M.

I made one of these already. Its a bit large but was fun to make.

View uMinded's profile

uMinded

115 posts in 2823 days


#27 posted 04-17-2015 08:37 PM


Regardless of what the law says, anyone can sue you for anything, especially when it comes to IP law. If you think otherwise, you should count your blessings that you ve never been involved in an IP case.

- Rob

Thanks for the story, definitely makes me not want to share anything lol

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

365 posts in 2445 days


#28 posted 04-17-2015 08:53 PM

Rob has it dead on. It’s not who is right in a lawsuit that wins. It’s who has the most money. I worked for a company that was sued for patent infringement many years ago. My boss won. By the time he paid his legal fees, he was bankrupt. Some win.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View daddywoofdawg's profile

daddywoofdawg

1029 posts in 2546 days


#29 posted 04-19-2015 02:13 AM

Unless your taking the measurements off the product,you will never have a copy of the product.You may have something that looks and does the same thing, but it will not be a copy.I see no reason not to make your own, or give away plans to your version of the item.

View rick1955's profile

rick1955

264 posts in 2402 days


#30 posted 04-19-2015 10:48 PM

http://youtu.be/2RQcClMWeh4
This is even better than the FMT and the Panto Router.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3613 posts in 3449 days


#31 posted 04-19-2015 11:05 PM

I don’t think coping is ethical I have expressed this before when stumpy did a series of DIY copies of popular jigs then sold the plans. This industry is small and if you support it the little company will come up with more cool ideas for jigs. That said my biggest issue is selling someone else s design I am not against you doing a one off that does the same job but to copy is theft.

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 3181 days


#32 posted 04-19-2015 11:09 PM



I don t think coping is ethical I have expressed this before when stumpy did a series of DIY copies of popular jigs then sold the plans. This industry is small and if you support it the little company will come up with more cool ideas for jigs. That said my biggest issue is selling someone else s design I am not against you doing a one off that does the same job but to copy is theft.

- thedude50

I agree that supporting the creators is a good thing. Do you see any difference between “theft” of intellectual property and physical property?

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5975 posts in 4214 days


#33 posted 04-22-2015 06:25 PM

It’s no different than using a cooking recipe that some chef has concocted. Most designs are not original anyway. They are usually variations of a basic concept. Remember; “Copying is the sincerest form of flattery”.

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3613 posts in 3449 days


#34 posted 04-28-2015 02:22 AM


I don t think coping is ethical I have expressed this before when stumpy did a series of DIY copies of popular jigs then sold the plans. This industry is small and if you support it the little company will come up with more cool ideas for jigs. That said my biggest issue is selling someone else s design I am not against you doing a one off that does the same job but to copy is theft.

- thedude50

I dont think there is a difference IMHO

I agree that supporting the creators is a good thing. Do you see any difference between “theft” of intellectual property and physical property?

- altendky


-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 3181 days


#35 posted 04-28-2015 03:21 AM

In the case of intellectual property you can steal from someone without ever having had any knowledge of the them or their work and without depriving them of anything. Physical property can only be stolen with proximity and deprivation. While my views on IP are probably obvious, I hope you can give these core differences some thought.

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