[Discuss] Protecting ourselves from getting sued?
Alex J V
alex at makeystreet.com
Sat Mar 7 17:30:03 UTC 2015
Yeah, absolutely. Definitely helpful. Thanks.
On Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 10:53 PM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:
> To be honest that was kind of a cop-out on my part. Like I said, I'm not
> intimately familiar with the details of practicing patent law. I can
> speculate that there might be big differences if the two parties are in
> different countries. Like, if you make something that infringes a US
> patent, but you're not in the US, then the patent holder might decide
> you're not worth the trouble since they'd probably have to get a patent in
> your country. They might decide that your thing doesn't actually infringe
> their patent, or that it's not close enough to be sure. The people who own
> the patent might not like the idea of suing anyone at all (some people just
> get patents out of habit). The patent holder might only budget for defense
> and not have any money put towards offense. The patent holder might do most
> of their actual business in related technologies, so people using your
> thing are actually giving them more business.
> Those are just off the top of my head. I assume there are a lot more
> possible reasons for someone to just not decide to take any legal action.
> Was that helpful?
> On Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 8:40 AM, Alex J V <alex at makeystreet.com> wrote:
>> Hi Matt,
>> Thank you for your feedback. Yes it is under - Commercial clause.
>> You mentioned - "Even if they do notice you, they might decide what
>> you're doing isn't a problem (for a variety of reasons)." I am curious to
>> know what are the "variety of reasons". Can you elaborate?
>> On Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 9:49 PM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hey Alex, this isn't legal advice (and it's based on US law anyway), but
>>> the way I understand it is that the design files and the idea embodied in
>>> the design are different.
>>> As long as you create your own design files from scratch you don't have
>>> to worry about copyright.
>>> Whatever you physically make is subject to patent law. It's possible for
>>> anyone with a patent similar to what you build to sue you for infringement
>>> and make you defend yourself in court. You can get around any patents they
>>> might have just by building something slightly different, however, if they
>>> sue you then you'll still have to spent time and money in court proving
>>> that you didn't infringe (or settle before it gets to court).
>>> It's unlikely that any of your projects will be so successful that
>>> they'll attract the attention of a patent holder. Even if they do notice
>>> you, they might decide what you're doing isn't a problem (for a variety of
>>> reasons). In the unlikely case a patent holder does take legal action the
>>> most likely first step is some kind of stop-doing-that letter. One of the
>>> strengths of open source hardware is speed and flexibility, so you can just
>>> stop selling that thing, or change the design so that it no longer
>>> infringes. If it's a stable design that's selling well then you might just
>>> reach an agreement to license the patent so you'd just pay the patent
>>> holder a fee for each unit.
>>> Actually going to court is a last resort that you are unlikely to end up
>>> choosing. You'd probably only do it if you get some outside agency to
>>> defend the case pro bono. If it's a really interesting or high profile or
>>> legally significant case then you've got a chance of getting an ally like
>>> Keep in mind that the open source hardware definition doesn't allow you
>>> to technically call your thing open source if you include a noncommercial
>>> clause in your license. That means that anybody likely in a position to sue
>>> you also probably has the option to just clone your thing and sell it
>>> So the potential futures are a lot more complicated than just getting
>>> dragged into court. That's a good thing :) Hell, if somebody does start
>>> giving you trouble you might even be able to get the OSHW community to
>>> shame them into backing down.
>>> On Mar 7, 2015 2:07 AM, "Alex J V" <alex at makeystreet.com> wrote:
>>>> Context - We are building an open source electric unicycle. Part of the
>>>> project we are building open source BLDC motor driver that is capable of
>>>> handling 500W continuous power.
>>>> The question here is there are tons of patents on BLDC motor driver. We
>>>> are not copying anyones work per say, but given the fact that motor drivers
>>>> have been around for a long time, as coincidence there is a lot of chance
>>>> that our design could potentially be very similar to one of these patents
>>>> and infringe them. At that point, will be get sued? If so, what do we do in
>>>> order to make sure that does not happen?
>>>> As a small team it is possible that we will not be sued, but the
>>>> intention is to manufacture at some point of time in scale. At that point,
>>>> how can open source hardware be not sued?
>>>> The question boils down to "We would love to putting our designs as
>>>> open source, but what should we do to not get sued?"
>>>> Alex J V
>>>> Find modular open source hardware for your project @ makeystreet.com
>>>> +91- 886 105 3989(India)
>>>> discuss mailing list
>>>> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
>>> discuss mailing list
>>> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
>> Alex J V
>> Find modular open source hardware for your project @ makeystreet.com
>> +91- 886 105 3989(India)
>> discuss mailing list
>> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
> discuss mailing list
> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
Alex J V
Find modular open source hardware for your project @ makeystreet.com
+91- 886 105 3989(India)
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