Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 10 December 2001
Note: the comments below are the unabridged
submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.
From: PatentHolder For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Patent infringement You commented: "Perhaps some patent attorney could enlighten us -- but it's my understanding (mistaken as it might be) that there's little to stop an individual from building a patented device for his/her own use -- it's just illegal to manufacture for others or to exploit for profit." IANAL - And I'm certainly not a patent attorney -- but I have some experience with patent licensing. The licence agreements typically grant a licence to "make, use or sell" things that depend upon the patent. My understanding is therefore that your remark is not accurate. Aardvark responds: Yes, the writer appears to be correct. I checked the patent FAQ on this site. and it says: "A U.S. patent is essentially a right which the government grants to the inventor permitting him "to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention" within the U.S., its territories and possessions." So, if an open source Segway project is started by someone, it will almost certainly be liable to be sued by Kamen's company. Of course ripping CDs and posting them to the Net is also illegal -- but that doesn't stop everyone does it? ;-0 From: grant For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Open Source Segway Open source can be applied to a lot of activity including hardware but the thing that amuses me is why should anyone emulate the 00' equivalent of the Sinclair CV5? It seems to be that the gyroscopes, smart software and fast/torquey motors simply work to give stability to an unstable configuration. Why not just ride a pushbike – cheap (less than NZ$1K), unlimited range (given time/effort), high top speed, lots of supporting infrastructure and of course zero pollution. You can even bolt on an electric motor (from Sinclair!) or for something a bit flasher: http://www.apriliaenjoy.com/ From: Paul Kennett For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Segway vs bicycle In what way is the Segway better than a humble bicycle? From: dwayne For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: segway I can't see any reason why you couldn't sell your own segway copy. You can't patent a concept, so as long as you didn't reverse engineer the original and copy the exact configuration then no big deal - although you might have to reverse engineer it to check you didn't copy anything by mmistake! If you improve on it, its your own idea to patent unless you want to go for "open-source". Generally you would patent some critical design feature and sell that to other designers to base their own designs on, but it would have to be a key microchip or something hard to copy that still adds value and saves design/manufacturing cost. From: Chris For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Bring on the Bicycle! If as much money had been spent on improving the bicycle as coming up with that segway thing, we'd have a far better means of transport than either. The bicycle has unlimited range, is more enviromentally friendly than even electric power( unless it's solar powered) and it's actually healthy for the user. The only problem is it isn't much fun riding in the middle of winter, in the middle of summer, or in the pouring rain, and the average person will probably find they don't have enough stamina to get as far as they'd like. The Segway doesn't really solve any of these problems apart from perhaps stamina, but then you've still got to find somewhere to plug it in at the end of it's not very impressive range. Someone else has already posted a link to an enhanced bicycle, however it's still less aerodynamic than a brick. There have been plenty of efforts at making aerodynamic human powered vehicles that actually allow an average rider to be able to achieve a good speed without undue exertion, and what with modern materials technology, and electrical augmentation, it should be possible to build something relatively cheap that can go anywhere. Take the electrically enhanced bike someone posted here, put it in a lightweight aerodynamic shell, lower the profil a bit, and mount some solar panels on it, and you'd have something that would probably still sell for less than the Segway and go a lot further a lot faster. With a bit of ingenuity, hey you could even use some of the electrical energy to provide some cabin cooling/heating as required. After all if you can get a vehicle accross Australia on solar power alone, if you add pedal power into the equation as well, you've got loads of energy to play with. I'd be driving/riding something like this now, if I had the money to develop it or afford to buy one if there was something already on the market, but a motorised scooter? No thanks, my feet work just fine! From: Don For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Patent infringement I am a member of an inventors forum and recently one of members, the host of a U.S. fishing show, asked if it would be okay to build a simple patented device on his show without the consent of the inventor. The advice from the patent attorneys was that he would be infringing on the person's patent and could be sued, because a patent gives the inventor the sole right to manufacture the invention desribed in the claims.Now Have Your Say
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