Re: Area 51

Subject Re: Area 51
From (Andy Wardley)
Date Fri, 24 Apr 1998 07:24:15 GMT
Newsgroups rec.kites
Airfoils wrote:
> In any case, it will have to wait about a year since I am building a
> house and its consuming all my money right now.

That's the part about "due diligence". If you don't show due diligence in applying for your patent and developing your idea as a commercial product, then you might find yourself prevented from doing so.

> They haven't figured it out in 4 years

Personally, I think kite patents are evil things, but it's a free world [1] . However, if you really are serious about doing this then you need to go and see a patent lawyer soon for advice. If you've already left it 4 years then you clearly haven't shown "due diligence" in recognising the worth of your idea.

> There are a lot of designers/makers that are pretty on the ball.

And I, or anyone else, could invent that tomorrow and patent it. That would effectively stop you from using the invention. You haven't shown "due diligence" in recognising the benefit of your invention and acting to protect those interests. As far as the patent office is concerned, you're not staking a claim to that invention leaving it open for others to use.

The alternative is to publish the idea. That is, give it away for free. Anyone can use it, but no-one can subsequently patent it because you have already staked a claim that says "Airfoils invented this". Subsequent "inventors" cannot patent the idea because it is based on "prior art".

But then you lose control of it. You can't decide who can and can't use it and you can't charge people to do it. You might think that's a bad idea, but it'll save you a hell of a lot of money.

One of our patent engineers here at work was telling me about a case involving the sewing machine company Singer. Some chap had invented and patented one of the major components of the modern sewing machine (the moving bobbin, I think). Singer went to him and quite bluntly stated that they were going to use his idea whether he liked it or not because they were richer and could afford better lawyers. That was the way it was.

So come on then, tell us what the great invention is. :-)


(Not a Patent Lawyer, but works with people who are)


1 ]

IMHO: the only kite patent that makes any sense is the Flexifoil patent. Most of the other kite patents are for things like "using bungy on wing-tips". Did you all realise your kite was infringing a patent? The reason I think they're evil is due to the nature of the kite industry. Firstly, most kite manufacturers can't afford to patent, and then subsequently protect, their "inventions".

Secondly, nearly all these ideas are based on "prior art". That is, someone else has done it before, but simply didn't bother to patent the idea. According to the law, it is possible for someone else to "re-invent" the same idea, or a slight modification and then patent it, effectively preventing the real inventor, and everyone else from using that idea or technique without paying the new patent holder the licence fee of his choice. The original designer did not show "due diligence" in realising the worth of his idea and protecting it with a patent. That left it open for someone else to do it.

All modern stunt kites use features designed by a great number of different people. I think it's a real cheek for a designer to freely incorporate all the little things that have been gradually invented by people over the years, but then to prevent anyone else from using their ideas. You can't have it both ways. The Flexifoil is totally different - that was a brand new invention from scratch and is quite justifiably patentable. Merry and Jones didn't copy ideas from Tom, Dick and Harry to make the Flexi, so they are justififed in saying "All our own work".

I won't patent my Active Bridle, because I acknowledge the fact that I've been inspired and influenced by other people's ideas. I could legally patent it, but I'm not going to. I would rather see kites improved for everyone instead of rubbing my hands deciding who can use it and who can't and how much money I'm going to charge people. Woops. Now the footnote is longer than the article itself. Sorry.

Andy Wardley  <>     Signature regenerating.  Please remain seated.
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