Ridiculous: Gov’t Contractor Copies Open Source 3D Printing Concept… And Patents It

from the locking-up-the-commons dept

We’ve been talking about the importance of patent quality, and one of the points made in our podcast discussion, was that many companies felt the unfortunate need to patent something just to avoid having someone else patent it later and create problems. One thing we didn’t really get to discuss about that is that this actually makes it ridiculously difficult for any project that wants to do something innovative and donate it to the world, without patents. Because someone else might just come along and patent it themselves.

That appears to be the situation that has now happened to Hangprinter. Hangprinter is a fascinating project to create an open source frameless 3D printing setup that literally hangs in the air and is able to build much larger things than a traditional 3D printer. From the beginning, the idea behind Hangprinter, from its creator, Torbjørn Ludvigsen, was to make it open source and freely available for anyone to make use of it.

And, of course, sooner or later, someone took advantage of that. UT-Battelle, a non-profit joint venture set up by the University of Tennessee and the Battelle Institute to operate the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, apparently decided to step in and basically patent the core ideas of the Hangprinter. Earlier this year, they were awarded US Patent 11,230,032 for a “cable-driven additive manufacturing system.”

Except that, as Ludvigsen points out, there is a ridiculous amount of prior art on basically everything in the UT-Battelle patent, not just from Hangprinter, but from some other projects as well. Ludvigsen walks step by step through how the patent drawings almost seem like they were drawn from public images of Hangprinter. For example, here is an image from 2017 of the creators working on Hangprinter:

And here is an image from the patent filed a year later:

Or, here was an image of the Hangprinter team building a tower with their Hangprinter, sent out in early 2017:

And here is an image in the patent of a printer building a structure (in the patent case, it looks like a replica of the Coliseum in Rome.

Either way, it’s pretty clearly the same basic thing. But now it’s under patent, even as the creators tried to make this open and free to the world.

The Hangprinter team has launched a GoFundMe to try to challenge the patent, but it’s an expensive process. As they note, this is an unfortunate turn of events:

With the patent in place, we’d have to pay license fees to a tiny minority, gatekeepers of the stolen vital technology. Expansion and further development of Hangprinters won’t happen unless the gatekeepers care to allow it. What should have become a bountiful forest instead becomes a single bonsai tree in a walled garden.

This is, yet again, the unfortunate result in a world where the default assumption is that every concept must be “owned” by someone, and where the idea of a public domain or commons is not even considered. Here we have people who tried to contribute something wonderful and useful to the world to make it a better place… and now they have to deal with this mess where a government contractor (even a non-profit one) has effectively locked up the commons and blocked further innovation unless the open source creators can scrounge together tens of thousands of dollars to fight it.

That’s not good for anyone.

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Comments on “Ridiculous: Gov’t Contractor Copies Open Source 3D Printing Concept… And Patents It”

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Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:

Which requires a costly process of challenging the patent even before it’s been granted. It would be better, in my view, if fees were charged to the relevant party after the examination so that false filers get charged for filing on someone else’s invention, and it doesn’t cost the challengers anything unless they challenge a patent that is indeed valid. That would stop this bullshit cold.

Franchot Slot says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Patent system is broken in every way. Patents are non-critically granted to big names and industries but ridiculously critical for the individual inventor. I once got rejected for a toilet plunger because a Christmas tree ornament had an electronic “plunger” mechanism. The only thing in common was the word “plunger”. Several other nonsensical rejections I have dealt with through USPTO. Design patents are treated like utility patents. The costs are all astronomical and basically a subscription service or you lose your priority. Patent trolls subvert the entire intent of the system. When the country runs on innovation one would really expect this to be a somewhat functional system. But it’s devolved into a government money grab and incompetence. These inventors should continue their work unfazed and wait to be sued. When they show prior art the case will be dropped and the patent invalidated. Attempting to bring their own suit is likely to be much more expensive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

When the country runs on innovation one would really expect this to be a somewhat functional system.

Except that innovation thrives on the sharing of ideas, while patents are about creating and preserving a monopoly, and the profits for the companies. Patents often hold back innovation, as improvements to something cannot be commercially develloped without the patent holders permission, and often a hefty toll.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Except that patents are actually the reward for innovation originally designed to encourage the sharing of ideas. That’s why a patent is a twenty year monopoly given in return for publically disclosing the idea. Unfortunately, maximalists and thieves like UT-Battelle have made the whole system broken, and minimalists obviously want a return to pre-patent days of unavailability of many essential products, going by the fact they call for the complete destruction of patents rather than overhaul of the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

15 from filing or from award? Because it’s already been 5 years from filing, but 0 from award.

But this is precisely why I’ve always been told: “Don’t look at patents for things in your field.” Because with patents, ignorance is a defense. You can keep using a patent you don’t know about until the patent holder gives you notice that you’re infringing. At which point, you can point to prior art, and the patent holder can either sue, knowing they will have their patent taken away, or drop it. The third option, of course, is that the patent holder has a war chest of money, lawyers and patents, and can keep things tied up in court, using more resources than the original inventors can afford.

In this particular case, what I’d love to see happen is either a) the patent filers request the inventors’ names get added to the patent, or b) the patent be granted for public use.

I’m guessing it was filed in the first place as a defensive patent so the patent holders couldn’t be sued by some other for-profit org in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Innovation precedes invention, and usually, hard fucking work precedes innovation. When someone copies the work of a real innovator and calls it their own, that hurts everyone. It doesn’t matter whether the original inventor was a patent holder or not, stealing someone else’s work and then getting a benefit from the theft should be swiftly and soundly punished. Steal and patent, you’re wrong. Steal and release as open source, you’re wrong. Lest America devolve into a kleptocracy, thieves should reap what they sow. They should be punished, not rewarded, for the theft of another’s work. I think everyone here would agree with that.

Armold Emch says:

Re: This is a joke

You got to be kidding! The leader on hang printer is famous… Linux is named after him. While I don’t hold a bar number, I would take this one on. Not only would I go for generic damages, but I would go for more. This case needs to be won. The established precedent could create widespread issues within the entire copyleft community. Where third parties of no standing to innovation created under copyleft can steal an idea, patent it and hold the original creator culpable for damages. This is crazy!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A patent should not be granted on something where their is prior publication of the thing being patented. Note, if you publish, you cannot patent later, and if somebody else publishes it still blocks your patent, if the patent examiner finds the published information. The problem lies in the patent examiner finding the prior publication.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

I'll take that

Strange, you’d think a university of all places would be against turning in someone else’s homework under your own name…

You have to be a serious scumbag to see someone handing out an invention for free for everyone to use and decide that means you get to claim it and charge people to use it, and yet there they are.

Anonymous Coward says:


Unfortunately this is the doctrine of publicly funded research today. Rather than contributing to the technological commons benefitting all of industry and humankind, research institutions are expected to limit access and extract profit. Their existence is justified by their “return on investment”.

JPJ (profile) says:

The Trusted Institution can't be trusted

This is another good example of how trusted institutions cannot be trusted anymore.
Of course it’s an “honest mistake,” because nobody in the patent office knew about the pre-existing work! (Duh. And I guess they don’t know how to do research, either.)
Maybe if the Patent Office were to go the “Blockchain Route” these things wouldn’t happen, or rather it would be easier to prove (without attorney fees).
Anyone got a mechanism to fix it with Blockchain? Basically what we need is a new patent office that operates differently. Perhaps a distributed record would allow more freedom of “inventors” (those who might seek patents), but then we’d have to create a “Commons” type of patent for those who wish to go that way for society at large.
Naw, that wouldn’t work either–we’d still get ppl trying to steal & own other ppl’s work & ideas, then everyone would end up in tort court. AAAARRRRRGH!

Anonymous Coward says:


And I guess they don’t know how to do research, either.

Outside of the carefully curated research resources, like the patent system and academic publishing, how do you figure out what search terms to enter into a search engine. Gone are the days when an Academic librarian could find 90% of relevant information about an idea from academic resources.

The major open source collections are GitHub, Gitlab etc., and documentation published on YouTube and Vimeo etc. Now that anybody can publish their ideas, there is more published per minute on the Internet that is and was published by the gatekeepers in a year.

That said IP is based on the idea that innovation and creativity are rare, a false impression caused by gatekeepers limiting what actually got published.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Laird Popkin says:

Re: The patent office checks for prior patents...

The patent office, and patent attorneys, look for prior patents for prior art, not the entire internet. It’s simple logistics – they have to process a large number of patent applications with a limited staff. If there’s prior art, the submitter is required to submit it as a part of the patent application, and from a legal perspective them failing to do so invalidates the patent application. Unfortunately, to prove it requires paying someone to fight the patent claim, unless they can find a lawyer to do the work pro bono. It might be worth contacting the EFF’s Patent Busting Project https://www.eff.org/issues/patent-busting-project for help. The prior art is obvious, as is the damage being done, trying to patent others’ work that’s being shared publicly.

David says:


This is another good example of how trusted institutions cannot be trusted anymore.

Shrug. We are talking about a country where in a number of states (and the number is slated to grow significantly) a successful rapist can sue his victim if she refuses to carry his child to term, get reimbursed for his court costs when doing so, and will likely be out of prison sooner than she and/or people willing to help her are.

It all depends on just what you trust your institutions to do.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Simon Monk says:

Academic Dishonesty

Everyone from the University of Tennessee involved in the patent application should be investigated for academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

Interestingly their website only appears to accept claims of dishonesty by students and not by faculty.

Anonymous Coward says:

just another example of the fucks made by politicians in the way they allow the greedy, money grabbing fuckers in the USA to get anything and everything from the backs of those who actually did the work. the fact that this and other items have now been stolen and put under patent shows how much things need to be completely rethought so the public gains and not just the thieves who, no doubt, paid someone to look the other way by throwing some incentives at them! there is no government or set of politicians more corrupt than those in the USA and it’s about time there were some changes!

then you’ve got the fuckers on the Supreme Court who have themselves screwed every woman in the USA to please a minority of women who probably cant have kids and wont ever know what it’s like to have to bring them up, with no money and no prospects. add in the men who want to just order women about while they fuck off out doing whatever they want, never ever having to take on any responsibility for kids, their futures, their well-being or their well-fair. what a bunch of assholes!!

Anonymous Coward says:


I have known at least one large company which plays the preemptive patent gae but does not charge for the use of those patents — unless someone tries to patent-troll _them_. “I’m sure you’re using lots of our patients; do you really want to get into this pissing match?”

The patent system is broken in large part because it’s underfunded. There was an attempt to crowdsource some of the prior-art searches to improve the system despite the budget, but there wasn’t enough participation to make a real difference.

Patents do have some societal value in terms of getting people to divulge techniques that they would otherwise keep as company secrets; that’s why they have a limited lifetime. But the patent process was designed for the days when there were fewer fields of engineering, fewer people working in those fields, and the inventor was expected to include a working prototype with the application (which these days is only enforced if you’re trying to patent something that looks like a perpetual motion machine). The problem is finding something better to replace it with.

Arijirija says:

Re: Re:

Yes, working prototypes not included! There was a story I still remember reading from my childhood, about a prince who was asked by two witches to judge who owned such-and-such a magic artifact. He asked them to show they knew how to use it, and when one did and the other didn’t he awarded it to the one who knew how to use it.

It seems the USPTO doesn’t have a clue about things work.

David says:


You don’t need a patent category for it. You just need an ability to preemptively file prior art. If the patent office were structured in a manner where it could be expected to work, you’d have 10 people tasked with researching and registering the development of the state of the art to every 1 person processing patent applications.

Then most of this kind of prior art sharking would not work, and the filing fees and efforts could provide a bit of deterrence. If not enough, penalties for obvious bad-faith registrations like the one in this article could be added.

Short of that, at least being able to actively submit potentially prior art would help. But that too would take personpower to successfully process.

David says:

Re: Re: In a nutshell:

The current system is designed to have the patent office’s work structured by the people submitting patent applications. That does not allow for tracking the state of the art independent from patent applications and means that inventions intentionally not patented are free for hijacking.

Like with copyright claims, the system is so laughably free of penalties for bad-faith actors that large companies with large-scale risk analysis and profit maximisation will have the best results by incentivising their personnel to routinely include bad-faith operations in their workload.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re:

You just need an ability to preemptively file prior art.

Which can’t actually be done because no one outside the USPTO and the filer can know about the patent before it’s pending, at the earliest. To do otherwise is to destroy the intended purpose of patents (which isn’t what the University of Tennessee have done).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Patent applications are generally published after 18 months after their earliest priority date. There are some exceptions to that though (some allow earlier publication, some prevent publication). So applications are often visible long before the patent is issued. This was done to make it easier to challenge patents prior to issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Zip uses a large variety of compression methods.

Most of those methods predate the zip program (many different zip programs have existed with various names). Some of those compression methods (e.g. LZW, and it’s relatives) are patented though those patents have now expired.

Some of the zip programs that have been released violated those patents. In fact a lot of commonly used things violated those patents at one time.

GIF, which was invented by CompuServe, used LZW. Unisys sued CompuServe over that use. This is one of the reasons PNG was created, to avoid the patents on compression methods by using ones that weren’t patented.

Sean Ssss says:

Typical for US patent system

The United States takes the position that anything not “invented” in the US is fine for stealing and patenting.
How else can you explain Apple being allowed a rectangular face, with rounded corners and minimal buttons as unique, and award damages against other countries companies.
Duh, TVs? Monitors? Computers?
Another case, information such as email address or phone number in a web page, is everywhere. Add the word “mobile” and “phone” and be awarded a new patent and source of income.
No wonder the world derided US parents.

Anonymous Coward says:


That is a design patent not a patent on an invention. Design patents protect the unique characteristics of a manufactured item. This is limited to items in the same or very similar category. So a design patent on a mobile phone only applies to mobile phones not to televisions or the dashboard in a car.

Most (possibly all, I’ve never checked) countries have design patents.

Vht says:

Patent office corruption

My father worked for the patent office for a year. He was an electrical engineer and was near retirement age so he thought it’d be a good job to retire with. They let him go before a year due to the corrupt politics internally since he was still on hiring probation.

So apparently once you’re past probation, it’s extremely hard to fire someone. My father knew someone who basically did side jobs all the effing time. His job was to verify these kind of patents, their legitimacy, etc. He’d literally just sign them as valid because the corporate companies filing them could just duke it out in court. And he isn’t the only one so there are likely countless similar patent workers who are allowing not only invalid patents but duplicates.

It’s a corrupt and broken system.

(My father was let go due to management politics where he did the verification work, meeting a certain quota, but some manager wanted him to do a higher quota for the same pay, he refused, and so they just pushed him out)

Robert Nelson says:

Parent re-examination

It is actually not expensive, but takes some time to file to have the patent re-examined by the patent office in light of prior art that the patent office didn’t consider. If an invention is being used or offered for sale prior to the filing date of the patent in question, it’s a bar to filing that patent. Also the patent only covers exactly what the claims indicate, and without studying the “file wrapper”, claims and prior art it’s hard to know if there is meaningful coverage for the invention.

Anonymous Coward says:


It might not be a bar to filing the patent, but it probably is a bar to having the patent allowed or issued. Also, the inventor and his patent prosecution attorney have a duty (a serious one) to disclose all the relevant prior art they are aware of. In this instance, because of the similar reference to the Colliseum, it would be surprising if they did not disclose this particular prior art to the USPTO. If either the inventor or the patent prosecution attorney acted in bad faith and failed to disclose relevant prior art they were aware of to the USPTO, that would be grounds to invalidate the patents altogether, and probably sanction the attorney.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, just take a look at the history of UT, I think they still have professors in jail because they gave military secrets to the Chinese, something like that. It’s a really strange cast of characters, UT and Oak Ridge. This is just one in a long string of unethical and deplorable historical events.

Anonymous Coward says:


Wasn’t there another UT professor that tried to “open source” a patented invention and got a whole lot of companies in a whole lot of trouble? Something about accelerating how computer storage operates internally, if I remember. First he publishes “his” technique as UT Open Source, and then Oops, not “open source” at all, patented. What’s going on at UT? They seem to be stepping on their own dicks time after time.

Anonymous Coward says:

The patent system got to be abolished. It can’t be trusted to not steal in cohorts with patent trolls from public what rightly belongs to the public domain. The patent system is also costing in lives in relation to life-saving medicines and barring innovations which depends on other innovations to build on. It has to go to make room for innovations of better systems that better promote innovations and gives more to society than just enriching already wealthy people.

Anonymous Coward says:


The patent system got to be abolished.

Yes, absolutely. Let’s have a world where anything useful either has just one supplier or doesn’t exist at all because they’re mired up in trade secrets and NDAs. This is how minimalists are like maximalists; the only difference between you is your favored method of denying things currently under copyright, etc. to the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, absolutely. Let’s have a world where anything useful either has just one supplier or doesn’t exist at all

What rock are you living under, as Linux and 3d printers exist i a world where everything is shared. Red-Hat, The Blender Foundation and Prusa Research are successful companies despite their products being freely copyable by others. Indeed it is quite possible that the only things in your life heavily protected by patents are mobile phones and medicines.

Alpheus says:

Where everyone else sees a problem with the US Patent system, I merely see the inevitable results of trying to do the impossible: to try to keep track of new ideas, and grant monopolies to those who come up with them first. What’s a “new idea”? How do you really know who came up with it first? And why should someone who owns a piece of paper but has no business sense be favored over someone who can take an idea to market?

The worst thing that happened to American aviation was to award the patent for flying things to the Wright Brothers. The situation got so bad, that in order for America to catch up with Europe, Congress had to essentially nullify the patent system for aviation by creating an independent research agency that made all their research free for others to use.

We’re well past due to consider whether we even need a patent system at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually many examiners do search online sources. However you only have a few hours to search for art and the attorneys filing these patents are not honest or comprehensive in the slightest when disclosing prior art when they file.

The true issue is the pressure to allow more patents, faster by the “shareholders”. Examiners wish they had more time but there has to be a limit somewhere or nothing would get done. The backlog is already such that it can take years to get a patent after filing.

David says:


They aren’t. Copyright is about blocking free flow of content, patents are about blocking independent implementation of novel ideas. Defense against copyright claims is “I didn’t copy”, defense against patents is “the idea was not novel”. “I had the idea first” is no defense against a patent claim (patents in the U.S. are ruled by “first to file”, not “first to discover”) unless you published the idea.

Unfortunately, the only kind of publication the patent office is interested in checking (if at all) are patent applications. So the legal situation of “free for use unless an actual inventor of the technique filed a patent” is perverted in practice by the purposeful incompetence of the patent office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d like to share this review of [insert movie title here], but I can’t because shudders copyright. Are you even hearing yourself right now? m-/

You don’t have to imagine. Game developers, filmmakers and authors have used copyright law to demand takedowns of reviews of their work which they didn’t like.

Oliver Bailey says:

Prior Art Patents

The problem is that this is, and was, prior art. A patented product must not be a knock off ofcan existing product unless it adds new capabilities that are obvious to the end result.
The real problem here is that younger people think that everything they do has never been invented before. This is a problem with the patent search process by the government not performing due diligence on the originality of the new patent. If you know this is a kockoff and your first complte drawing was made public over one year ago, report them instead of wining about it.

Dubois says:

The high level similarity between patent drawings and photographs does not automatically mean that the issued patent describes an identical concept without any key differences. If there are key features that differ or go beyond the open source design, then everyone is still free to use the open design without being in violation of the patent. Why didn’t the author of the article reach out to the inventors named in the patent to ask them to explain their side? Did the author even read the patent claims? Getting both sides of a story used to be mandatory, but in this day and age, it seems to be frowned upon. That would make the story far less likely to enrage people and therefore draw clicks that drive advertising dollars.

Naughty Autie says:


This has been under discussion for some time already. Additionally, the University of Tennessee had plenty of opportunities to discover the prior art (look at the References section). Given how many patents any American university files every year, they certainly know the law and their responsibilities under it. Now stop excusing literal patent theft with cries of, “But we need both sides of the story!” The only side that UT-Battelle has is that they saw something they liked and decided to keep it all to themselves rather than sharing it as the original owners wanted them to. End of.

Mark Gebert says:

Since this patent relies solely on prior art and publicly disclosed art, it should be very easy to challenge for anyone who wants to use the ideas for commercial projects. Until that time, the “fair use doctrine “ allows one to use the ideas in the patent free of charge as long as you don’t intend to commercialize or sell products with this information.

Cbc says:


Apparently,someone found a way to implement the idea that the open source project conceived. Just because someone has an idea, it doesn’t mean they have a monopoly on the idea itself. Prior to the Wright Brothers, people had the idea of human flight. Should they have been able to void the Wright patents because they had the idea before Orville and Wilbur?

If they can prove they actually reduced their idea to practice and published an enabling disclosure prior to the filing of the patent application, then it is prior art and can be used to challenge the patent. But a couple of pictures that may or may not have been published and which show no details of the implementation don’t cut it.

Naughty Autie says:


Apparently, someone found a way to implement the idea that the open source project conceived.

Yes, the inventors of Hangprinter. Your point? Oh, now I see. Well, even if the University of Tennessee were the first to get the invention working, it doesn’t matter anywhere a working prototype isn’t required to file for a patent. Again, yoir point?

Anonymous Coward says:

Battelle is a front for the re-writing of history

Even a cursory investigation of Battelle brings to light many questionable claims:

They claim to have invented the computer mouse and gui system.

They claim to have been involved in the invention of th cotton gin.

They claim to have been the key factor behind the Wright Brothers development of the airplane.

I believe the University, Torbjorn, and the US patent office, are all actually victims of a shady US government pseudo-contractor that has been slowly inserting itself into points in history in such a way that their involvment cannot be definitively disproven. They claim to be a non-profit but examination of their public facing facilities and private land holdings reveal an immense level of funding and revenue that would cast doubt on any other organization not associated with the US government.

Eric says:

Maybe not

First, the national lab system (ORNL) is primarily funded by DOE, a tax payer funded organization, so the idea that they’ve stolen and privatized the patent is more complex than introduced here because public funds run ORNL.

Secondly, this article jumps to conclusions terribly. It is often true that patents and inventions arise because market pressures highlight a need for a solution that often more than one person recognizes and tackles. It’s entirely plausible that people at ORNL were simply working from similar information and tackling a similar problem, such that they developed a similar solution. It could easily be coincidence. This article produced no information to refute this likelihood.

Nobody at ORNL, already a non-profit producing research for public benefit rather corporate profit, intentionally stole this to beat these people to market and profit from it. That claim just doesn’t fit. So without any evidence other than straight up conjecture, I feel pretty confident that these folks aren’t victims, it’s just circumstantial. A bummer for them, but hardly malicious.

Kent Tiffany says:

Let them patent it… Even if Gobt grants it because they failed to do their research, it is easy to challenge fe the patent to make it Public. JEFF bozos tried doing that with Falcon 9 imitation of a Rocket landing, and Elon Musk took him to court and showed all the Miving made in the 1960’s about landing on ships Hollywood had already made the concept public. JUDGE THREW IT OUT!

Jeff K says:

I'd like to see them try and defend it.

A patent is really only valid if the people that filed and received it can also defend it. If they can’t win a court case, then the patent doesn’t matter.

It is highly unlikey that they would ever be able to successfully enforce this patent based on the law alone. But also the money involved. Some random corporation could easily stomp them out. Sure they could bully some smaller companies, but at some point if they aren’t trying to enforce it everywhere and win that enforcement everywhere, then the patent essentially becomes useless.

ThorsProvoni (profile) says:

Means+Function Limitations

I did not study the patent in detail.

I did notice the following.

The 1st and 3rd limitations of claim 1, which is the only independent claim, are in means+function format, which makes the patent claims extremely specific and narrow.

It is probably easy to avoid infringing this patent, and if not, there is a high probability that the claims are indefinite (and thus invalid) according to 35 U.S. Code § 112 – Specification.

Anonymous Coward says:


What do you think, Thors? How should we deal with people, whether they be UT professors or anyone else, that steals other people’s work and calls it their own? Stealing is deplorable. Universities that promote and support plagiarism should be sanctioned or closed, or at least not supported with public funding (at a minimum). Maybe we need a list of plagiarists that can be accessed by the public, like we do for sex offenders. That might be good at preventing these unscrupulous actors from benefitting from their malign activities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Stolen inventions are everywhere, maybe you’ve unsuspectingly bought one? Did you ever consider that perhaps the code in your tech-gadgets or “open source” application was pilfered from an independent inventor’s patented innovation and wrongly released without permission?

This is why we need your help. We need to protect inventor rights, home-grown businesses and consumers too.



Under current law inventors usually only receive a “reasonable royalty”, while even a willful infringer gets to keep most of their profits from using the invention without permission. This bill disgorges all of the profits from willful infringers who knew or should have known of their violation of a patent owned by the original inventor. This remedy is consistent with other forms of intellectual property including design patents, copyrights, and trademarks.


In addition, inventors that own their own patent will be entitled to:

injunctions to prohibit unauthorized use of the invention,
the right to file suit in their home district,
recovery of attorney fees that substantially exceed the amount of damages awarded.

ThorsProvoni (profile) says:

Re: Re: An Incremental Invention is an Invention

The US patent system encourages incremental invention.

If I build a hangprinter and some part of it meets every limitation of US 11,230,032, my hangprinter infringes. Suppose I can find a device that was publicly available before the effective filing date of 11,230,032. In that case, the patent is invalid, and I can argue invalidity in an Article III court or before the PTAB. I might also be able to challenge on grounds of obviousness.

In the case of 11,230,032, it’s usually easy to avoid a means+function limitation, and this patent has two such limitations.

I used to work for a successful company that built third-party non-infringing versions of patented adapter cards. We analyzed a patented adapter card and found a way to construct a non-infringing functionally equivalent adapter card.

Our adapter card was invariably cheaper and superior to the patented proprietary adapter card. Necessity is the mother of invention. The patent system encourages competitive invention.

Lazy people (and lazy corporations) whine about the patent system.

Oldfogey says:

Hangprinter patent

Who would have ever guessed that a “noble” non-profit state university using taxpayer money and a “noble” non-profit foundation using people’s donations would behave like slimy patent trolls to rip off an open-source project. Those who participated should be terminated immediately for dishonesty – Hahahahahahhahaha. It’s always about the Benjamins baby.

Edward Aylward says:

Here is what the hangprinters inventor can do...

1.) Show that he sold these printers to the general public for at least a year prior to the trolls application date. If he will do this and he can, because I personally bought one from the inventor, right after he released the first video of it on you tube, they can’t patent it.
2.) Patent pending status will continually protect his idea as long as he updates new features once a year. ( I highly recommend this, as not even the patent office is allowed to read a provisional patent.
3.) Simply incorporate the trolls patent, word for word, into his own patent in which he has improved upon the trolls patent by at least 17%, then apply for his own patent, and then the trolls will be beholden to him.

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