View Full Version : Patent law questions?

2005-04-17, 18:52
I'm starting to design several items to make for my own use on the trail, but I have a question about patent law:

If I am going to make something for my own use that is similar (not exactly like, but a similar idea) to something that is patented, am I technically violating the patent?

I wouldn't be making anything to sell, this would be just for personal use. This isn't inspired by anything in particular, but is more of a general question about making my own gear that is similar to patented items.

What do you think? Does anyone know the actual legality behind this?



SGT Rock
2005-04-17, 18:55
As long as you only make it for personal use you are not violating a patent. I also think if you make something as a gift and do not charge for it, then you also are not technically violating it unless the manufacturer wanted to come after you because you were giving away thousands of them and cutting out their profits.

2005-04-19, 11:56
Thanks Sgt. That was my thought, but I'd never researched the legalities behind it... I guess that unless I find out something different, I won't worry about it.


2005-04-21, 02:54
I wouldn't worry about it.

You should be covered by "an experiment with a patented article for the sole purpose of gratifying a philosophical taste, or curiosity, or for mere amusement is not an infringement of the rights of the patentee."1

When an invention is "made or used as an experiment, whether for the gratification of scientific tastes, or for curiosity, or for amusement, the interests of the patentee are not antagonized[.]"2

1. Peppenhausen v. Falke, 19 Fed. Cas. 1048, 1049 (C.C.S.D.N.Y. 1861) (No. 11,279).

2. W. Robinson, The Law of Patents for Useful Inventions 898 (1890).

35 U.S.C. 271. Infringement of patent
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without
authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within
the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention
during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.
(b) Whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable
as an infringer.
(c) Whoever offers to sell, or sells within the United States or
imports into the United States a component of a patented machine, manufacture,
combination or composition, or a material or apparatus for use in practicing a
patented process, constituting a material part of the invention, knowing the
same to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of
such patent, and not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for
substantial noninfringing use, shall be liable as a contributory infringer.