Research exemption – calm down, it’s ok to “make” something for fun that’s patented

Research exemption – calm down, it’s ok to “make” something for fun that’s patented

Connect
After releasing the “Open source Homeland Security non-lethal weapon – The Do-it-yourself handheld LED-based Incapacitator” a few folks around the web emailed or posted saying “you can’t build that for yourself, or even for fun, it’s patented!” – This comes up once and awhile in the world of making things, perhaps it’s a good conversation starter- here’s a snip from a wikipedia article on “Research exemption”…

“In patent law, the research exemption or safe harbour exemption is an exemption to the rights conferred by patents”…

… and from a previous case where this seems to have been tested, the court(s) said –

“experimental use defense” for “amusement, to satisfy idle curiosity, or for strictly philosophical inquiry.”

We’re not lawyers, this is not legal advice – that said, this seems to makes sense. Imagine drug companies needing to wait until a patent expires to figure out if they can make a generic drug… or imagine everyone sitting on their hands not able to test the claims on a patent for “amusement, to satisfy idle curiosity, or for strictly philosophical inquiry”… making things for yourself to see how things work is fun – do research on your own about things you see/hear as well as questioning what “armchair patent experts” say on the internet. Oh, the “Do-it-yourself handheld LED-based Incapacitator” is not for sale, it’s not a kit, but you can read all about it.

Agree, disagree? Have something to add? Post up in the comments with your thoughts!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Tagged

current: @adafruit - previous: MAKE, popular science, hackaday, engadget, fallon, braincraft ... howtoons, 2600...

View more articles by Phillip Torrone

ADVERTISEMENT

Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

FEEDBACK