Where do you draw the line... Steal/Copy/Borrow/Immitate ideas & concepts

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ErikG, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. ErikG
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    ErikG Senior Member

    Where do you draw the line...
    Steal/Copy/Borrow/Immitate ideas & concepts?

    Splashing a design is obviously a bad and unethical thing to do.

    But what about ideas/concepts?
    You can't TM or patent an idea of a specific craft. You can protect it from being replicated or somone nicking a technical setup straight from a patent.

    But the rest?

    Somone said/wrote that copying was the scincerest form of flattery...

    If you look at a boat/concept that you like and make your own version of it, that is similar in style/handling and looks but NOT a copy. Is that illegal or unethical in your oinion?

    We all do compare our designs with similar earlier designs by others and use those numbers and info for comparision and to draw concluisions from it.

    State your opinion.
     
  2. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    EVERYONE I know is attempting to solve similar problems , in the "best" manner.

    A Concept used from one application in a similar or different application is not stealing , its problem solving (if it works).

    FAST FRED
     
  3. D'ARTOIS
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    D'ARTOIS Senior Member

    First of all there are trendsetters and trendfollowers. The first starts a new vision, design, concept - in whatever way: cars, boats, fashion....you name it.

    In every design or concept, you will find the influence of another designer, however, some designers will have developed a special recognisable signature. Therefore I can tell you by seeing a design of a well known designer, who made it. Each designer develops througover the years his "designformulae" that acts as his or her trademark. A S&S, or Frers or VDS are clearly identifiable as "theirs".

    Therefore the law makes such a distinction by quoting "slavish copying"

    Stealing, copying.....its almost overruled by the entry of the CAD era. There are even designers that cannot anymore draw by hand as much as there are people unable to handwrite.

    If there was no fashion, there was no copying and vice versa. It is very strong existant in yacht design. Even slight changes in hulldesign are drectly copied - look at present way of designing transoms and bows; one trendsetter creates literally dozens of trendfollowers.

    And that will always be so.. whatever your design, you are somehow copying somebody......
     
  4. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Orville and Wilbur Wright were a classic case of a new and usefull idea and follow thru of flying in air with a engine in the USA. Their intent was to sit on the idea and never develop it. Should they have the right to stop any one else from using their airlerons ? They allowed some others to use their ideas free of charge, others they took to court over INFRINGEMENT. How do you resolve that business attitude? That was their patented strong point.
     
  5. Wynand N
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    then again, there is nothing new in yachting....
    Everything has been tried before, with and without success. So what is there to copy really?
     
  6. icetreader
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    icetreader Senior Member

    Protecting Intellectual Property

    You can apply for a utility patent for a new, useful and doable way to make something I.E. an invention.
    If your concept is not obviously useful enough to be allowed as a utility patent you can apply for a design patent.

    I strongly disagree with the idea that everything has been tried before, even in a particularly well established and explored field such as boating.
    Looking closely at any scientific and technological domain will show that in fact new inventions and technologies stimulate and enable further investigations and progress.

    Yoav
     
  7. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    I agree with Icetreader. I thought of a fully moveable ballest. Canting- left, right. Turn-left, right. Tilt- foward , aft.-- Raise, lower, all by one joystick. I want my patent.
     
  8. duluthboats
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    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    All the designs I work on have started from someone else’s design. The question for me is after/if I build the boat do I mentioned it was influenced by another designer out of respect for his work or is this a double foul, for now I’m using his name as well as his work.

    Gary
     
  9. icetreader
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    icetreader Senior Member

    Find out

    Cyclops,

    The online patent database of the US Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov) is both a friendly and interesting place to run searches on "prior art" in any field.
    Sometime it can be funny, and in other times quite inspiring :)

    After you've checked that your idea is both new, useful and doable you may also want to check if it has market $$ potential that may justify getting through the trouble of patenting it. -Actually, it's better to start from a market analysis, and if the conclusion is "definitely yes" start investigating patentability issues.

    Yoav
     
  10. ErikG
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    ErikG Senior Member

    Gary hit the nail with that goddam big hammer!
     
  11. Morgig
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    Morgig Junior Member

    I agree that all new work is based on someone’s previous work (or should be, in case we end up with a square wheel). What get my goat is whene people use other peoples ideas or technology from other engineering sectors, then claim patent on that use on, then get on their high horse about copying (I can think of one vacuum cleaner manufacturer as a fine example, he took is idea from farm yard grain storage technology, then said that all engineering was based on plagiarism).

    It's also interesting, that by taking out a patent on some thing you effectively open up that idea for every one to see in some part. It therefore only takes a small change and that patent is no longer valid. I believe that to get round this Lotus cars had their work force sign some kind of confidentiality agreement to stop the vacuum infusion technology they had developed getting out.
     
  12. icetreader
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    icetreader Senior Member

    So?

    Except for very rare cases most patents are in some way based on "prior art".
    Even the first wheel was based on the technoogies of carving stone, wood working and rolling logs.
    In order to get a patent one must prove to the patent examiners that his/her invention is "non obvious" (I.E. indeed innovative) when looking at prior art in its field. Sometimes this process of examination can take years.
    The inventor also has to prove to the patent examiners that his/her invention is useful.
    Without patent protection individual inentors would have no incentive to invent since they will have no way to make money from their inventions because of the big and established companies having an initial advantage.
    Although some progress has been made in recent years (I.E. the Patent Cooperation Treaty -PCT) Europe is still lagging behind the US since patenting in the EU is still much more expensive than in the US.
    Besides, what's the problem? -If in invention has no merit it doesn't harm anybody, and if it does have merit its inventors have a way to benefit from their work and investment.
    A well edited patent should provide sufficient protection from "interpretations", and this is why it's too risky to patent your inventions without a patent attorney. Preferably you should also hire a technical patent editor to work with the patent attorney.
     
  13. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    I'm fairly new to the board, and I just wanted to say THANKS to everyone for doing threads like this one. I'm really learning a lot. :)
     
  14. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    Double post. :eek:
     

  15. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    I have a possible problem with an inovation on hull design.

    While designing a boat some years ago, I developed a novel (I think) hull configuration. This idea was built into a boat and launched almost 5 years ago. It was published in a boating magazine soon thereafter and plans have been sold for several years.

    In a recent magazine, I see that a major manufacturer has started building a boat using this inovation and has applied for a patent on it. Their stated claims in the article are almost identical to the performance results I have. I have no problem with anyone using such ideas but don't want them bothering me about it.

    It's my understanding (from going through the patent process a few times with the company I worked for) that prior public disclosure of an inovation, whether patented or not, voids any future patents on the same inovation. Now, their application claims may be very narrow and not present a problem to either them or to me.

    Actually, I suspect that a very good search might show that neither of us is original since designers and builders of the early 20th century were faced with the problem of optimizing boat performance with the heavy and low powered engines they had to work with. I am always amazed at the things they came up with.

    Anyway, do any of our resident lawyers have a thought on what I should do? I don't want to either contact them directly or have to hire someone to do it for me. I pretty sure I'm in the clear but don't need any hassle like another well know company has been handing out recently about "Picnic" boats and such.. :rolleyes:
     
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