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Thread: Selling DIY Kits: A question about patent infringement

  1. #1
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    Default Selling DIY Kits: A question about patent infringement

    I am not going to mention which project of mine I have been considering selling but most of the regulars here will probably know. So, patents... I totally get that selling a completed, turn-key product that resembles a patented product by a world brand is a huge no-no that can land you in court. On the other hand, I don't know the laws pertaining to selling a kit that includes detailed instructions and nearly all necessary pre-fabbed parts that only require assembly. Having never seen the blueprints or even the patent of the product in question, I have no idea how closely (or not) my project resembles the "professional" product. So I guess what I am asking is, would it be patent infringement by selling a "kit" that, when finished by the end user, would resemble a patented product? Any help would be awesome.

  2. #2
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    Good question. I think where you might get into trouble is if you make some of the parts specifically to fit whatever you are doing with the intent to create something that is covered by a patent. If you supply a bunch of off-the-shelf materials and some instructions you might be in the clear. But, if the instructions themselves infringe on the IP of the patent then you are in trouble there. Probably should ask a patent lawyer. Seems like some of this was discussed on here earlier in regards to arctos knife edge lasers or something like that but I didn't pay much attention.

  3. #3
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    I would definitely consult a lawyer that deals with patents. You can never be too careful. Don't risk losing everything.

  4. #4
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    One can be too careful. Unless you start making huge amounts of money with it publicly, nobody will bother you. If they do, they'll just tell you to stop it. Don't let paranoia prevent your passion. Give it a shot. Life is short. Just sayin'.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the response, guys. I probably should have been more clear in that; I don't intend on starting a business. No eBay or even a website. I would most likely PMa few people who have expressed interest on this forum and one other forum. No advertising. I doubt I would be able to sell more than 5 and even 5 is a HUGE stretch. The Kit would not be cheap and the buyer/builder would have to be someone with a very technical background. This wouldn't be a simple Ikea bookcase in a box! Anyway, thank you!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    Thanks for the response, guys. I probably should have been more clear in that; I don't intend on starting a business. No eBay or even a website. I would most likely PMa few people who have expressed interest on this forum and one other forum. No advertising. I doubt I would be able to sell more than 5 and even 5 is a HUGE stretch. The Kit would not be cheap and the buyer/builder would have to be someone with a very technical background. This wouldn't be a simple Ikea bookcase in a box! Anyway, thank you!
    If that is the case then it doesn't matter.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2014
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    I'd think any first step from a patent owner would be a cease and desist letter. Until then I wouldn't worry about it, especially without a storefront.

  8. #8
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    Another aspect is juristiction. The US will allow a lot of dubious patents that would be rejected anywhere else in the world, so as long as it is one of these and you have no connection whatsoever to the US (and never intend to go there) then infringing such a patent should be safe. The patent attourney bully boys will know that there is nothing they can legally do about it in these circumstances but that won't stop them sending out the cease and desist letter, if you get one of these you can then decide how brave you want to be.

  9. #9
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    I don't see any problems selling a Kit as long as you do not mention
    the other product by name as associated with your product.
    If only selling a Kit in onsies and twosies... a large Patent holding
    company will not even bother unless complaints have been received.

    Then they would start with a "Cease and Desist" letter before spending
    money on legal fees.

    Jerry
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