Books, magazines and the internet all are chock full of articles, videos and pictorials outlining an endless array of do-it-yourself projects. Giving yourself a sleek, layered haircut, restoring your mom's midcentury modern settee or building and installing your own rooftop solar panels all are now within your reach, thanks to the ever-growing DIY craze. Unfortunately, a few such projects may actually infringe up on someone else's patent.
One hard-learned example comes by way of PetaPixel.com, a leading photography blog. A recent blog post outlined for readers a DIY hack for creating a homemade version of a popular - and pricey - piece of photo gear. Shortly thereafter, the company received a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys representing the patent holder for that particular piece of gear.
"Under 35 U.S.C. 271(a), whoever makes any patented invention infringes upon the patent," the letter read. That means that while a reverse-engineering copycat may save you money, it may also prove an infringement, even if it's for your own personal use. You don't have to sell the item to infringe upon a patent.
The letter further reads: "And, under 35 U.S.C. 271(b) 'whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.'"
In PetaPixel's case the company "induced" the infringement of the patent by sharing the DIY tutorial online, potentially encouraging thousands of readers to create patent-infringing copycat products themselves.
If you believe that someone is infringing upon your patent by creating or sharing DIY hacks, contact Daniel Law Offices in Orlando and Tampa at 866-37PATENT.