[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 9, Issue 15

Marco Perry mperry at pensanyc.com
Fri Mar 1 01:38:03 UTC 2013

A certification will not keep people from suing you for what ever they
want. One lawyer told me that if I don't open source an invention correctly
that people can sue me if they follow our BOM and instructions and hurt
themselves building our thing. I was also afraid that our invention
violated an existing patent, and open sourcing our invention would be also
somehow make us liable to a patent suit. Couple those legal issues with all
the worries around open sourcing (rip-offs, loss of business, scarring off
investor, etc.), it makes it hard to open source.
Knowing a trade organization is there to lend a helping hand - expertise,
knowledge, best practices, relevant examples that I can follow, a source of
expert witnesses if I do get sued, advocates, advisers and so forth would
make me feel more comfortable to open sourcing.
Without a cohesive trade org, everyone can define "open" as they wish, act
on their best interests (not a community interest), and it's back to
everyone for themselves.

On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 7:44 PM, Chris Church <thisdroneeatspeople at gmail.com
> wrote:

> On Feb 28, 2013, at 5:12 PM, Tom Igoe wrote:
> > The folks I'm thinking of (3 cases) make toys or puzzle-like things for
> kids, and espouse open source ideals pretty heavily. But they've also found
> that if they open source their mechanical designs, they face much higher
> liability insurance premiums than if they do not.   They have to have
> Consumer Product Safety Commission approval, and they run afoul of that if
> someone comes to them and says "My kid swallowed a part made with your
> design". With the manufacturing in-house, they can ensure quality control,
> and with the designs closed, they can't be told that they bear liability
> for someone else's works.
> >
> Internally here, we call this an "Attribution Problem," and it's one that
> no license can resolve.  It's a liability that may be defensible in court,
> but the primary damage is done long before court comes to be. When you have
> a clone of a well-known (within the specific market) product, the customer
> tends to attribute any failings of the clone with the original.
> What I've often heard in OSHW discussions is that a license which doesn't
> allow commercial cloning of the product would prevent that product from
> being "fully open-source," which seems to leave anyone selling retail
> products (I don't mean PCBs to hackers) fully exposed to the attribution
> problem.  I'd sleep a lot better at night if there were an inverse of
> CC-BY-ND, like CC-BY-SA-DO (Derivatives Only) and share absolutely
> everything if it were to be.
> Chris
> _______________________________________________
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> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
> http://lists.oshwa.org/listinfo/discuss

marco perry . principal, pensa
20 jay st., suite 800, brooklyn, ny 11201
p 718-855-5354 .  blog.pensanyc.com <http://www.pensanyc.com/>  .
www.pensanyc.com . @thinkpensa
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