Attack of the (PCB) Clones

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Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by wermy » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:33 am

Hey guys,
I wanted to address a couple issues that have come up recently, and give others a chance to weigh in. Please read this to the end -- I'd appreciate any input/thoughts you might have!

We’ve grown quite a bit, but this is still very much a community of hobbyists/enthusiasts who just like to make and share cool stuff. One thing I did not anticipate with all that growth was the number of people who would be designing, manufacturing and selling custom parts. It’s been really cool to watch and be a part of, especially considering that the vast majority of people here are just doing it for fun as a hobby in their spare time.

With all that growth, we’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road. One of those that has popped up a couple times recently is people trying to copy another person’s work/design, and cash in on it by selling clones/reproductions.

I realize this can be kind of a gray area; sometimes there are only so many ways you can go about designing/making something. A good example of that would be glass screen covers for the DMG-01 case: a few people have made those and sold them here, but there’s literally only one way/shape to make them so I wouldn’t consider that to be ripping off someone else’s design or idea.

But sometimes it’s much more clear-cut, like with custom PCBs. Recently a forum member copied a version of Helder’s Game Boy Zero AIO board nearly wholesale: same features, same components placed in nearly the exact same locations, etc. The same user, it’s come to light, is trying to do the same thing with Helder’s mintyPi button PCB and screen board (this in addition to a another forum member trying to steal those designs from the PCB manufacturer a few months ago). Situations like these, I think most would agree, are not ok.

Going forward, we will be cracking down on this. If you try to sell something that is an obvious clone of someone else’s design, especially if you haven’t added anything novel to it or made it your own in some way, your thread will be locked, paypal buttons removed, and you may end up banned (if you have a legitimate thread that gets locked, please reach out to a mod or email me to explain the situation). If you want to iterate on someone else’s work (which in my opinion is fine), please reach out to the original designer/maker for permission, and indicate you’ve done so.

One more thing I’d like to bring up: I’ve seen a few other instances recently where someone was selling something they maybe didn’t create/design themselves, but were either just selling a single pre-assembled unit of a project they put together (like a mintyPi or GBZ), or were selling parts with permission from the creator(s) (like the forum member who recently sold a few mintyPi kits). People jumped to conclusions and broke out the pitchforks, and it was kind of sad/frustrating to see. So with all of the above in mind, let's also try to assume the best until proven otherwise. :)
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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by YaYa » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:58 am

I completly agree with your statement and i must confess that i feel really sad to see these things happening.
I think it is normal to pay for someone’s duty and design and also for his involvement in the community.
I have a simple example in mind for now, Kite’s SAIO, yes it can seem expensive, yes people can try to imagine buying a cheaper one, but the board worth it’s money and his work here at sudomod to help people is just amazing.

Like do Helder, like do Wermy, like do all good willing people here and real makers, not basic thieves trying to make money on the back of honest people that worked hard to achieve a small miracle for the happiness of everyone.

Wermy, feel free to kick/ban them, it’s normal and in a normal world, we even shouldn’t have this debate :?
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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by dryja123 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:14 am

I think I've over communicated how I feel regarding the issue. I completely support you and I've always felt that you guys should take every step possible to legally protect your IP. I understand this is a maker community and modifying things and keeping it open source is what the community is all about but you run the risk of putting yourself out if you don't protect yourselves. All it takes is one of these guys to submit the schematics and patent your design and your SOL.

Once you legally protect yourself it's up to you if you want to enforce it or not. You could allow contributors in the community to tweak your design and bang the gavel on those who are trying to rip you off.

A message to the community as a whole: You know who the makers and contributors are, vote with your dollar. If you see someone surface out of the blue selling someone else's work, report it to a mod. Support the community and keep it going.

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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by YaYa » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:25 am

In a so big world you cannot protect your stuff... putting patents in every country would cost about million dollars. You can patent in USA and still be cloned in China without any legal recourse... :(
You can even protect everywhere and still get cloned without the ability to do something if you don’t know who to pursue...
Unfortunately we are not Nintendo, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft... we are a big community but still a grain of sand.
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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by dryja123 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:38 am

YaYa wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:25 am
In a so big world you cannot protect your stuff... putting patents in every country would cost about million dollars. You can patent in USA and still be cloned in China without any legal recourse... :(
You can even protect everywhere and still get cloned without the ability to do something if you don’t know who to pursue...
Unfortunately we are not Nintendo, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft... we are a big community but still a grain of sand.
In the U.S. you can file for an international patent for about $2,000. My grandfather has a handful of international patents and only had an issue with China after the 14 years expired. The international patent that expired was a walking cane with an articulating head. He sold a patent for rustless paint to a small company called Dupont for an "undisclosed" amount ;)

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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by YaYa » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:40 pm

So you mean with 10k$ i can patent the name MintyPi, GameBoyZero, and the SAIO design ? :mrgreen:

Ok, i’m already out and running :lol:
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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by dryja123 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:45 pm

YaYa wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:40 pm
So you mean with 10k$ i can patent the name MintyPi, GameBoyZero, and the SAIO design ? :mrgreen:

Ok, i’m already out and running :lol:
A patent won't work but a copyright might! :lol:

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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by YaYa » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:47 pm

dryja123 wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:45 pm
YaYa wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:40 pm
So you mean with 10k$ i can patent the name MintyPi, GameBoyZero, and the SAIO design ? :mrgreen:

Ok, i’m already out and running :lol:
A patent won't work but a copyright might! :lol:
Hahaha... My english is not too bad but not as good as a native english :mrgreen:
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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by thedudester80 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:00 pm

Very sad...
Wermy and Helder and everyone else who has help build this community thank you for all your hard work. I know that these are just hobbies but to me in my life this is stability. I need projects to work on and I know there is a ton of other things to work on but I enjoy this community and enjoy seeing what you all are making and sharing cool ideas. Everyone here who has contacted me on something has been great and respectful and encouraging.

Anyway I just wanted to say thanks guys for making me feel welcome here and I'm excited to build, share, and see what you all are creating :)

Also please don't steal someone's labor. They worked hard to make our projects easier and more fun for anyone either starting electronics or have advanced knowledge.

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Re: Attack of the (PCB) Clones

Post by Yahmez » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:23 pm

I can understand where you are coming from. At the same time, literally no one is selling an aio board except for ckliang. From what I have read, when they do go on sale here, they are sold out immediately. So for someone new here like me, the only way to build a Gameboy zero with an aio is wait until the next 'pre-sale' then another month or two. It seems the only reason this issue even exists is because of lack of stock... Simple supply and demand.

As far as whether the board is a clone? That is more of a grey area in my opinion. Since the board is fitting into an existing gb shell, the basic location of components and shape seems to be predetermined. The components used being the same you would order if you had no aio.

But that's just my opinion, I'd gladly support the original creator but I'm not waiting half a year. If ckliang's aio was not available I would have just bought the individual components.

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