FWW and Lee Valley Patent

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In the letters section of the latest issue, FWW add's an apology for describing a device that Lee Valley retains the patent (a magnetic dovetail jig), and FWW suggests that you should not make this device yourself, and instead buy it from Lee Valley.
IANAL, but I have talked to patent experts.
There is nothing illegal about disclosing a patent, as it is public information.
It has been explained to me that there is nothing illegal about making a patented device for your own use. In fact, this is encouraged, as it helps future inventions. Perhaps we can improve on an old invention. However, selling it is illegal.
There are moral issues - and some may decide to buy the jig from LV instead of making one themselves. Doing so shows respect, and I do respect LV.
But I also respect creativity and inventivity.
Sorry Robin, but if I can find a way to make something for myself that is better than something you sell, I will do so. I hope you understand.
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I also saw the fine woodworking article and I thought that was a strange commentary. So by that logic(Fine woodworking), if ,when they invented the frisbee, you were seen throwing around a pie tin, you would be commiting a crime? The problem, I would think, is that Fine woodworking is a company that makes a profit. They used a device that has already been patented to contribute to the revenue of Fine woodworking. I think that is were the patent infringement occured. To be honest with you , maybe it was the way it was written, it fried me a little that Lee valley made a big deal about this article. But that doesn't change my opinion of Lee valleys exceptional job of genuine, helpful customer service. My wife said it the other day..."I love getting things from Lee valley...they are really nice people"
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I also read that "correction". One of the things about patents is that they must be defended, so I have no problem with Lee Valley's actions -- I'm sure the letter came from a lawyer, so all the harsh legal threats were contained therein. I think the correction you saw from FWW was one of those corporate CYA actions that went beyond what was required in order to protect themselves from future action.
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

*Trademarks* must be defended. Patents do not fall under the same rules.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

Not precisely, but there is still reason to defend their unauthorized use...
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On Tue, 22 Nov 2005 11:50:31 -0600, with neither quill nor qualm,

You obviously don't own one, Chris. Google shows 11,200,000 hits for that phrase. I looked into it and decided against spending the money to patent my inventions. It would be too costly to start and even worse to defend. I make a few grand a year on them as is.
http://www.google.com/search?q=patent+defense
IIRC, patents must be defended here (USA) as a condition of grant.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

No, I don't.
I do work in software, however, and there are a number of companies which control substantial numbers of patents, and have stated formally that they will not prosecute their patents against open-source implementations.
If you do not defend a trademark, it becomes diluted. Patents don't work the same way--the patent holder can decide whether to enforce it.
There's all sorts of information on patent defense--but that's because it's the only way to get any money out of the infringer, and usually the patent holders want money.

I don't think this is correct. Since I can't prove a negative <grin>, I guess it's up to you to prove the positive.
Chris
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Maybe not but they come under the same practice. If anyone is going to defend a patent, it is the patent holder.

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wrote:
<snip>

Hi -
Just for your information - our "harsh" letter can be seen here:
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/Fine%20Woodworking-1.doc
Cheers -
Rob
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Much nicer than most such notifications I've seen. Ya'll really are a class outfit. :-)

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Robin Lee wrote:

You guys are tough...
The letter reminds me of the TV show "Due South", where law breakers were politely arrested by a Mountie. <G>
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keep_it_in_the_newsgroup snipped-for-privacy@thankyou.com says...

A different take on this thread: What I found interesting is that despite Lee Valley and FWW representing, I think, the ethical high end of woodworking retail and journalism, Lee Valley really jumped on FWW with both feet. Like others have said, I too have no doubt the letter was lawyer-generated and edited, but why the humiliating overkill when the error was evidently not deliberate. Shame on Lee Valley; they could have been more gracious and handled the issue in a letter to the editor and the editors's reply.
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LDR wrote:

Not sure I agree. I'm of the opinion that in the current US legal climate, "jumping with both feet" would be a legal injuction against publication and a lawsuit for compensatory damages for lost sales.
Chris
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I certainly didn't read it as an overboard response. LV rightfully could have demanded an action of some sort, such as a printed notice in the next issue or compensation or sought litigation - which LV didn't do. It's merely a notice of pointing out their property rights.
One of the issues with infringement instances is that you've got to be consistent and vigilant with protecting your rights. I see this as an instance in which LV is serving notice for a potential infringement with the knowledge that should another party read the tip and take it further down the road of infringement, LV can then point to this instance in which it has served notice protecting it's ownership. In other words, you are in a weaker legal position if you decide to protect it on Wednesday and Friday but didn't on Monday or Thursday.
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Having read what Robin Lee posted as the letter sent to FWW, I saw nothing that could even be remotely construed as jumping on FWW with both feet. The letter was polite, gave FWW the benefit of the doubt, and merely pointed out the fact that the device in the tips section had been patented. FWW's response was a bit more over the top.
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snipped-for-privacy@hadenough.com says...

I didn't see the letter sent to FWW, so if it is as you describe, then I was wrong: FWW jumped on itself with two feet. Or the publisher jumped. In my salad days as a young reporter in California, I once drew a lawyer's letter and it was embarrassing, although I certainly deserved the correction. When someone admits being wrong to me I don't require the person to roll on the ground apologizing for it. Of course there is no accounting for editors into self-flagellation, if that was the case. Kinda like Roshomon, this is :-)
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WHAT?! You didn't take the time to read the letter that Robin made available to the group and yet you jump into the fray with both feet?
Here's the link from Robin: "Just for your information - our "harsh" letter can be seen here: http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/Fine%20Woodworking-1.doc"
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longer available on the site, at least I couldn't find it. In situations like this, usually, the original letter is not shown, which is why I never looked for it in the first place.
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It's a downloadable file in Word format. Here's the content (some of the special font characters may have been lost due to translation from Word to my newsreader).

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snipped-for-privacy@easystreet.com says...

I think I never read the letter because I did not expect it to be there. But I have since seen it and it was absolutely reasonable and in keeping with what I would expect from the class act I think is Lee Valley. I went off just on FWW's letter which seemed to be written because the editors's feet were put to the fire. I'm glad to be wrong and happy to apologize. (and I hope I'm not overdoing it. :-))
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