Patent and copyright protection
May 16, 2008 at 10:18 am #476
Will TSI be attempting to protect intellectual property?
June 24, 2008 at 3:58 am #3326
- I would certainly hope, that even as a non-profit organization, TSI would still wish to protect their IP enough to prevent others from claiming it for exclusive use. Whether designs and writings are licensed under Creative Commons or traditional copyright, any substantively new invention or improvment, to include processes, should be safeguarded so that no other orgabnization or individual can keep the technology for themselves.
- If a spin-off or completely unrelated for-profit organization eventually results, it could license that technology, and thereby provide funding for greater efforts to promote the ideals that gave impetus to TSI, namely, ilbertarian experimentation with social systems. Even a venture formed for the exact opposite reasons (perhaps a religious fundamentalist authoritarian group as a mere example) and they paid license fees fort TSI intellectual property, it promotes the greater goal.
The primary purpose for TSI to have a patent portfolio to horse trade with other patent holders. The oil and gas industry has lots of patents and it is extremely likely that we will infringe on one or more of them.June 24, 2008 at 9:34 am #3336
Fair enough, I like that idea as well.June 25, 2008 at 1:32 am #3347
What Patri and I hate about the patent process is that we can’t publicly talk about some really neat ideas until after the patent has been applied for. It is really annoying.June 25, 2008 at 3:47 am #3350
Say I am in international waters using a seastead that has some idea that you (or an oil company) patented in the USA. Do you think you or they will be able to collect royalties from me? On what legal basis? How would you enforce your claim? What if I also have a patent on it in Europe or someplace else, would you also pay me? What if I thought of it first and can show I posted about the idea on usenet in 1993, so I think your patent is invalid? What if I have more guns and a seastead that can not sink and I can sink your seastead? Assume all my worldly wealth is on my seastead and it never goes into anyone’s territorial waters. I just don’t see why I care what patents you or any oil company has. I suppose if I wanted to build seasteads inside the USA as a business. But I don’t think I would want to.June 25, 2008 at 7:02 am #3352
Patents are pretty much world wide these days (kind of like copyright law.)
Wikipedia has an article that introduces the concept:
Any Contracting State to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property can become a member of the PCT.
A majority of the world’s countries are signatories to the PCT, including all of the major industrialised countries (with a few exceptions, including Argentina and Taiwan).
It is kind of fun to speculate that you are completely self sufficient on your seastead, but it is not very likely. Complying with international patents is probably the more prudent course of action.June 25, 2008 at 9:59 am #3353
Patents are ridiculous. All they are good for is protecting you from other patents…June 25, 2008 at 10:58 am #3354
If a judge issues an injunction preventing people in the US to do business with you, you’ll feel it, whether your wealth is entirely out of the US or not, directly or indirectly. Sure, it’s damaging to the US, more than it damages you even, but that kind of consideration never stopped the people with power and authority.June 25, 2008 at 11:28 am #3358
>It is kind of fun to speculate that you are completely self sufficient on your seastead, but it is not very likely.
I have no illusions about being self sufficient. I live on an island of 12,000 and even at this size self sufficiency is not reasonable.
>Patents are pretty much world wide these days (kind of like copyright law.)
In a small island country in the Caribbean, do you think radio stations or cable companies pay royalties for the copyrighted material they use? From the error messages on cable I don’t think so and I am rather confident that none of the radio stations are paying. So if patents are like copyright, why would a floating country care about international patents? Nobody is going to come to a tiny country and try to enforce patents where their home country court rulings have no effect.
Do you think that when I step onto the Azores to go shopping there is any danger that they would arrest me for copyright or patent violation claims? Do you think any small island country anywhere has ever arrested a visitor for copyright or patent violation claims made by some foreigner? Be bad for tourism so I doubt it has ever happened.
But say the Azores goes crazy and starts arresting visitors for patent violations. Then I don’t step foot there. Maybe I send a boat ashore for supplies or pay someone from there to bring stuff to me when I am nearby. Does not mean I have to be self sufficient.
But say I don’t want to support the economy of such a country with my business, do you think I will have any trouble finding some other islands that have not gone crazy and started arresting visitors for alleged patent and copyright violations?
You can easily waste crazy amounts of money on patents (I have done it). I really think you should not be spending any time or money on patents. I really think your odds of success go up if don’t worry about patents. Part of it is the time, part the money, and part the secrecy. But I strongy recommend that anyone who is really interested in starting a floating country not worry about patents.
Maybe someday after we are a sizable country we might start to think about IP rules, but early on I don’t think IP is an issue to worry about. Don’t think other small countries worry about it. Does a captain of a ship worry if some people on his ship are violating copyright law?June 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm #3360
Patents tend to be useful for outfits that have fairly deep pockets. There is some pretty serious abuse of patents out there. (I live in the SF Bay area, and patent litigation articles make it the front page of the local newspaper on a regular basis.)
If we want to succeed in building a seastead community (and we do), we need to plan accordingly. Dealing with other organizations patents is part of the realistic planning process. We think it is both annoying and manageable.June 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm #3361
The seasteading institute is incorporated in the state of California with the intention of obtaining non-profit status from the United States Internal Revenue service. We have to abide by the laws of the US. Period. We have no choice.
If a big corporation comes along and says “you are infringing on patent XYZ, either pay us $$$ or stop infringing”, we have to pay attention to them. Corporations do not tend to go after individuals concerning IP issues, they go after other corporations (like TSI.) Your arguments about corporations having individuals arrested are not very convincing.
We do not intend to spend large sums of money applying for patents. Someone has offered to help us out, so I doubt we will have pay much more than the submission fees.
My long term plan is to have seasteads that can be manufactured and deployed at sea. Until we get to that glorious situation, we have to worry about having a judge issue an injunction and shutting down a land based seastead factory.June 25, 2008 at 9:51 pm #3362
June 26, 2008 at 12:25 am #3366
- No counter-argument. A certain degree of pragmatism is good.
My long term plan is to have seasteads that can be manufactured and deployed at sea. Until we get to that glorious situation, we have to worry about having a judge issue an injunction and shutting down a land based seastead factory.
You could just have some designs that people could take to a shipyard of their choice to have their seastead built. You might charge for the designs, or limit it to a few trusted shipyards, or make it an open source design.
In the end I think we will probably want aluminum or steel. For you to setup your own competative shipyard with robots for cutting, robots for welding, stuff to move the heavy pieces around, and all the experts to make everything work is a huge investment. Until you have a steady stream of orders you would be better off to save your money and use existing shipyards. Your value added is not in construction, it is in a novel design. If the design has been evaluated on computers, modeled in wave tanks, and had full sized versions built and tested then you have invested in a design. If other people like your design then it has some value.
An open source design would not be something a judge could shut down.
Seems strange for a non-profit to have a factory. So strange in fact that I would expect you would be breaking some limit on non-profit organizations. Think it is worth checking the rules.
There are boat designers that sell designs the customer then takes to a boat builder. If some day you get a builder who lives on the ocean, cool. But “builder” and “non-profit” don’t need to be the same organization.June 27, 2008 at 2:48 am #3383
Without a design, no factory is needed.
TSI will not be running a factory, since it makes no sense. TSI will probably contract with a shipyard to manufacture each prototype seastead.
Once the prototype seasteads are manufactured and verified, TSI will strongly encourage the formation of at least one factory. The factory will invest in infrastructure, molds, personal training, marketing, sales, etc. Hopefully, an efficient factory will produce seasteads at a substantially lower cost than a shipyard that wants to build just one. However, TSI ultimately does not care if there is one factory, many factories, one shipyard or many shipyards. Indeed, the more organizations making seasteads should result in competition to bring down prices. In fact, as a non-profit, TSI is not legally allowed to favor one organization over another; they must all be treated equally. TSI ultimately wants there to be healthy competition between seastead manufactures.
There are some issues associated with manufacturing seasteads and safety organizations. Who pays for the safety seal of approval? Is TSI involved in that, or does each factory have to independently pay for a safety seal? I don’t know.
Each organization that manufactures a seastead on land, will have to obey the laws of the appropriate country.June 27, 2008 at 4:12 am #3384
TSI will strongly encourage the formation of at least one factory. The factory will invest in infrastructure, molds, personal training, marketing, sales, etc. Hopefully, an efficient factory will produce seasteads at a substantially lower cost than a shipyard that wants to build just one.
If the material ends up being concrete or fiberglass, then having one factory that can reuse the same molds many times will make sense. If the material ends up being aluminum or steel, a seastead factory that was not fully utilized could easily cost more per seastead than a regular shipyard that was busy all the time making ships, only some of which were seasteads. Can also do things like order all the pieces to be cut and bent and then just do the welding yourself. Anyway, the decision to setup a factory just for seasteads will depend on the material used and the volume of orders. I think it is too early to really say if one will be reasonable. I don’t think it will be reasonable early on, but I am not sure how long “early on” will last.
>Each organization that manufactures a seastead on land, will have to obey the laws of the appropriate country.
But if what TSI produces is just a set of blueprints then a customer can pick the country with the laws that work for them. It makes for one less thing that can cause problems.
I also doubt that a shipyard that just built what the customer’s blueprints said to could get in trouble for patent infringment. Probably just the owner of the ship. But if the owner is off in international waters as soon as the seastead is finished they probably won’t get in trouble either.
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