Living hinge patent and selling things

legal
livinghinge
patent

#1

Since the living hinge is patented, I know we can use it for personal projects and designs, but legally is it okay to sell items using living hinges?
https://www.google.com/patents/US7685676

I know they’re used all over the place, I just wonder what the risks are?


#2

IANAL, but take comfort that not all living hinges are patented – and it’s a huge category. There’s so many different ways of making a living hinge, some other design is bound to work out for you.

There’s also this lengthy discussion about it on Reddit:


Have any Pro e-mails been sent in the last 2 weeks?
#3

This is my favorite quote from that discussion:

Maybe someday the world will realize that we’ve changed from an industry where ideas are valued and products are hard to manufacture to an industry where ideas/manufacturing is cheap and support and product quality are valued.


#4

That’s nuts. I have lots of objects older than 2006 with living hinges based on these claims. The patent system is so broken.


#5

I’ve long been an advocate of simply getting rid of the whole patent system. I just don’t feel like “no fair, I thought of that first!” has any place in the adult world. You want the success, you need to execute on your ideas, and do it better than the competition.


#6

I hear you. The system as-is doesn’t do anything to protect the “little guy” - I mean consider Apple has enough money that they can out execute almost anyone - they have a long history of helping themselves to ideas they like, and if they can’t outcompete, they can lock the competitor out of their platform. It’s tough to be a lone inventor now.


#7

Woah there @dan_berry, way too much information…


#8

I’m not particularly interested in the debate over the patent system and the viability of this patent, I’m more curious about the practical implications of working with them and selling things with them.


#9

When I read through that patent I didn’t see mention of wood per se. Metal, and silicone, but not wood. But then, IANCL (I Ain’t No Copyright Lawyer)


#10

Regrettably those things are kind of the same topic. It’s a broken system and because of that, you could very well wind up running afoul of a completely silly patent. And unfortunately legal advice from random people on the internet is worth about what you pay for it. :slight_smile:


#11

Broken Patent system eh? You guy should really read the verbiage of the filings.


#12

I mean, that’s kind of my point


#13

I agree in principle. The tricky part is that protection of r&d investment is important in cases where the creation of a product is so expensive that you need some guaranteed time alone in the market to even justify the entire process.

This is particularly true in the biomedical industry, where the development and testing of new drugs is extremely expensive. Without a decent patent period, it wouldn’t be viable for a business to do the research.

The system is definitely flawed, and you can take the biomedical angle and point at a myriad of reasons why it doesn’t have to be this way… but for now, that’s one of the reasons we still need patents.