[oshug] [austin-hacker-space] More on open patent pools - Open Invention Network

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 16:09:11 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:50 AM, Matthew McCabe wrote:
> Hmm, so where does this leave the inventor who does not have a day job and
> wants to make a living creating new products?  I am a bit torn on this issue

R&D phase does take resources and money so that you can coast while
your stuff doesn't actually exist yet. That's true. There are all
sorts of arrangements to make that happen. After that, it's
sales/branding mostly.

> I am interested to look at hybrid models where a product IS protected by a
> patent or copyright but much of the info needed to produce the thing is
> given away for free.  Thus, you basically choose to license the patent to
> whomever wants to use it for personal or, possibly, commercial use.  I have
> been thinking about how to apply this idea and it is tricky...  How, for
> example, do you make a profit from something if you are giving it away for
> free?

Uh, how about you just use an open source hardware license (something
akin to TAPR but not necessarily TAPR) and then a non-assert agreement
(if you have a patent)? This is along the lines of the Creative
Commons / Science Commons with the PPL license -- but there are some
minor differences I recall. In the case of the Open Invention Network,
they are literally transferring ownership of patents into the pool.
IMHO transferring ownership of the patents is only because that's what
everyone understands (everyone understands a patent pool) but it's not
necessary, I think. You make money by selling kits, instructions, a
good user experience.

> I would love to hear other perspectives on this issue.  Also, we may want to
> schedule a talk with one of the IP attorneys in town to get an idea of how
> to appropriately protect IP (or not).  And to prod them a bit about these
> hybrid models or just giving something away for free.

I have been looking to work with (as in, hire/pay for) an IP attorney
to help draft a better open source hardware license, plus non-assert
agreements, for Gnusha- the open source tech co-op. However, I
strongly encourage this to be completely separate from Austin
Hackerspace internals-- that'd be cause for alarm and
abandoning/jumping ship.

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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