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 Post subject: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:00 pm 
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[Admin: Linked from a thread where a KO 8x8x8 was revealed]

merlintocs wrote:
So we're NOT going to talk about the 8x8x8???
[removed] tends to be really good about intelectual property. I see a few possibilities here:

SPECULATION:
1) [removed] has a totally different mech (ball core or something)

2) Verdes decided to license the V-mech to [removed] rather than go through the work of manufacturing it themselves

3) It isn't an 8x8x8 but just looks like one (perhaps restricted turning or something)

4) [removed] is trying to get sued

5) Something else

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Seems like a thorough analysis. I hope the truth turns out to be such that I can legally purchase one. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:49 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
SPECULATION:
1) [removed] has a totally different mech (ball core or something)

2) Verdes decided to license the V-mech to [removed] rather than go through the work of manufacturing it themselves

3) It isn't an 8x8x8 but just looks like one (perhaps restricted turning or something)

4) [removed] is trying to get sued

5) Something else


In another post of [removed], I saw this: "the core of this 8x8x8 is identical to the one in the [removed] 4x4x4." My understanding is the core is basically a 2x2x2. So I guess it doesn't infringe the V-mech. But I remember previous discussion about the 4x4x4 says that whether it's an infringement is not only about the core. I'm not able to draw more conclusion.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Holy crap haha, I didn't even notice 8x8. Awesome puzzles :P and vcube better get producing their 8x8 or else they are going to lose on a lot of sales.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:04 am 
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Very cool! These look great. Glad to see a non-KO 8x8, but I don't know if I'll buy it or not.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:12 am 
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Just like with the V-Cube 3x3x3, let's please wait until [removed] makes their announcement. When [removed] or someone who also owns one of the [removed] cubes talks about it in more depth, we can react. For now, it just looks like a teaser. The main focus is the triangular prisms.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Considering we still haven't heard anything else about the [removed] 6x6 I'd say it'll probably be a very long time before we have news about the 8x8.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:18 am 
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Update:

Sorry for the big edit (it hurt me more than it hurt you).

I had little doubt, but after viewing the internals of this puzzle it is considered by this site to be KO. As such I had to split this from the other thread to remove the manufacturer information.

Regarding why this is considered KO (because I know people will ask/argue):

1.) The Verdes patent is comprised of a number of claims and to infringe, one does not have to violate them all. A single claim violation is sufficient.

2.) The core and central layers of this puzzle function different than the Verdes style even cubes. This is great innovation and while I can appreciate that it does not mean the other parts of the puzzle are suddenly allowed to infringe other claims.

3.) What made the Verdes puzzles different from their predecessors is easily apparent by viewing a cross section. The conical cuts and spherical shells make large puzzle possible, and non one figured that out for decades after Rubik introduced his cube. The Udo Krell and East Sheen puzzles are examples of mechanisms that couldn't go beyond the 5x5x5. For years after showing his puzzles (exterior only) no one could replicate them. This mechanism was clearly "obvious" only in hind sight. This is what I consider the major innovation patented by Verdes, and that protection was well earned.

4.) I have seen a cross section of this new 8x8x8 puzzle and if you didn't look at the core it would be very hard to distinguish it from the internals of a V7. It clearly takes advantage of the Verdes innovative design, a design he took pains to patent for substantially cubic puzzles with 11 or fewer layers.

There isn't really any way for this site to consider this anything but KO.

As such take the expected care when discussing this puzzle: No links to it, no mentions of this manufacturer, no pictures showing branding information (imprinted on the four center pieces of each face). Blurring and redaction can be used to comply with this policy.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:34 am 
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Hey Dave, thanks for the heads up. Invariably if you think the puzzle infringes on some claims there will be some stance one way or another from Verdes on the puzzle. When word gets out on a stance, it would be nice to see it posted here.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Personally i don't mind seeing a "KO" 8x8x8 come out first. If the V-8 turns out to be better this is only a win-win situation :wink:

And btw. the market for such a puzzle is pretty small. Somewhat bigger for collectors than for speedcubers i would guess ... Collectors would like the V-8 because it's genuine. Speedcubers would simply go for the best version ... Like for 6x6x6 the best speedcubing version would probably be a fully modded V-8. Just my guess :roll:

Per

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:24 pm 
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perfredlund wrote:
Personally i don't mind seeing a "KO" 8x8x8 come out first. If the V-8 turns out to be better this is only a win-win situation :wink:

This is only a win-win for you as a buyer willing to pay the money for both. A KO 8x8x8 becoming available is terrible news for V-Cubes because then they lose many potential customers to the KO. In fact, this is the reason why KOs are so harmful, in every industry, not just puzzles. Everything else, the ethics and the dignity and the originality, go down as side-effects.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:10 am 
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The original 8x8x8 cube was actually a hand-made mod which used the parts form a genuine V-Cube 7 and the core of a 4x4x4 ball mech. Because it required 24 V-Cube 7 centers, at least 4 V7s are required to make this, and it likely turned poorly because the V7 shells ceased to be perfectly spherical. No posts or links, but I'm assuming based on prior speculation in this thread, that this new KO is based upon the original mod. If the shells are perfectly spherical, it may end up turning quite well.
EDIT: I just looked up the cube on youtube; there is no 4x4x4 ball-style core present and the mech is completely different from the original hand built mod - 100% VCube Knockoff, with some minor stability enhancements.

I have wanted V-Cube to release 8x8x8 for some time now. What I would ultimately like to do, is to someday get a black and a white genuine V-Cube 8x8x8 and do a chessboard mod by using half white and half black parts, and leave the puzzle unstickered. It would be light-years cooler than the V7 Illusion. I could then recoup part of my investment by selling the spare chessboard cubes on ebay. It would be a fun puzzle with a lot of parts, and you would solve it to chessboard or half-n-half or make patterns with the pieces, without the tedious affair of complex algorithms.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:35 am 
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Almost correct. The original 8x8 used KO-7x7-pieces, too.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:46 pm 
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I hope a genuine V-Cube 8 is released soon, but I also hope they will "upgrade" the mechanism. I'm not really a fan of the V-6's clickyness and anti-misalignment mechanism. I have 4 genuine V-6 cubes, but only one of them was decent out of the box, the other ones were way too tight and unstable.
And I'm not looking forward to heavily modding an 8x8x8.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:02 pm 
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Here's a legalistic question for the law gurus out there: The KO companies have basically knocked of the Verdes mechanism, but added minor stability enhancements. This is especially noticable on the even Verdes KOs. Question is, since Verdes owns the rights to the V-Cube patents, does he also own the rights to the Knock off designs? Because if Verdes finally decides to come to market with the new larger cubes (8+) and designs his cubes strictly by the patents, then the enhanced designs would likely make the KOs better. But if Verdes incorporated some of the various enhancements into the official V-Cube product line, would he have to get the KO companies permission to use the actual enhancements to the products that they stole? In otherwords, does Verdes own the "derivative works" or could the KO companies sue him for it? Given the fact that despite new IP laws, China is still a safe haven for copycats, a Chinese company could likely sue a western company for infringement, but the western company cannot do likewise to the Chinese company due to loopholes in the system.

That already puts Verdes at a serious disadvantage when it comes to competing with Chinese product with regards to the V4 and the V8-11.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:19 pm 
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stardust4ever wrote:
But if Verdes incorporated some of the various enhancements into the official V-Cube product line, would he have to get the KO companies permission to use the actual enhancements to the products that they stole? In otherwords, does Verdes own the "derivative works" or could the KO companies sue him for it?
I suppose it depends on the level of protection secured by those companies for those enhancements. I don't know what they have filed for in China, but believe some of those companies have Chinese patents on "their" mechanism (that doesn't respect the fact that Verdes applied for it first, to my knowledge).
Are there patents on those newer mechanism parts? If so, would the rest of the world recognize a patent that based itself on infringing IP? Perhaps if the enhancement was patented alone.
I really don't know, and think it is an excellent question.
Then again, most of those enhancements are derived from public domain works (i.e. the Pi mod) so I wonder if they could even be patented...

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:26 am 
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I don't get it. How can there exist a KO high-order cube, when there isn't a non-KO high-order cube yet to knock off?

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:41 am 
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samus88 wrote:
I don't get it. How can there exist a KO high-order cube, when there isn't a non-KO high-order cube yet to knock off?
The puzzles have taken V-Cubes mechanism, which they have patented. So even though V-Cubes hasn't manufactured it yet, these puzzles still infringe on their patents and therefore are knock-offs.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:08 am 
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My 2 cents worth:

First off I’m going to emphasize that I’m not a patent lawyer. My experience with patent law is limited but I do have a couple of patents (non-puzzle related, they are automotive).

You can’t patent a theory. You patent the application of a theory.

The V-Cube patent has a lot of theory in it about conical cuts and the geometry used for the puzzles. But it is the specific application of this theory which is what the patent really protects. And that is what is represented with all the drawings of the V-Cubes 2 through 11 as shown in the patent.

Patent law does not prevent others from using their own application of the same theory. In fact, it kind of promotes doing so in the name of innovation and improvement. Some of these new puzzles which use the V-Cube theory and some of the V-Cube design have a number of changes and improvements to that design which may be patentable. They would have to reference the V-Cube patent as prior art and then show their specific improvements used in their application.

With this in mind some of these might actually be legal.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:19 am 
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Volitar Prime wrote:
They would have to reference the V-Cube patent as prior art and then show their specific improvements used in their application.
Can you give us an example of a patent that builds on another, valid, patent with specific improvements? Can you give an example of where this second patent can be used without a license for the technology on which it is built?

These questions are not meant to imply these things don't exist, I just don't know anything about this area and examples would really help.

It makes complete sense that improvement of existing designs is encouraged, but I would think that a user of the improved design would still need to get a license for the foundation patent.

Otherwise what protection would patent convey? I would think most any invention can have some addition or modification, can that really be grounds for invalidating the earlier patent? That would make no sense and encourage a waterfall of changes, whether useful or not. No one could use patent protection to ensure a worthy business case as it could be invalidated at any moment even after being granted.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:33 am 
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I'm not fully sure -though also have some experience-, but when patenting is done for the same region(s) I expect it too be like:

- Mr. X patents the wheel -> then this becomes current state of art; and design/manufacturing is protected. Mr. Y needs to acquire a license to manufacture a wheel also.

- Mr. Y tries to patent a groove pattern on the wheel -> I expect that either Mr. Y cannot acquire a patent (because his invention makes still use of the basic invention, the wheel), or Mr. Y can only patent the groove pattern (as improvement e.g. for a wheel)


So, if Mr. X wants to manufacture a wheel with grooves he needs a license from Mr. Y (for the groove pattern), and if Mr. Y wants to produce a wheel with grooves he needs a license from Mr. X.

For sure it's right that you can infringe a patent, by just infringing one (of the many) claims. Also: generally a patent is stronger with less claims, because the first claims are most important ('the basic of the invention'). If you 'infringe' on claim 101 and not on claim 1 to 100, then there's most likely no infringement because you have invented something new (which was not thought of by the original inventor to include in claims 1 to 100).

Any patent lawyer here?

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:45 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
Can you give an example of where this second patent can be used without a license for the technology on which it is built?


A second patent of course can be used when the first patent is outdated or not uphold (but gives the holder of the second patent not also the (license) rights on the first patent; only right to use it freely).

See e.g. the citation list of this patent.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:07 am 
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Because of this anti-SOPA crap a lot of sites aren’t working well today so finding specific examples is difficult.

Anyway, improvement patents can be granted on the changes but typically do not allow the production of the changed product without a license to the original patent holder unless the improvement is large enough. The improvement has to be what the court considers non-obvious and the amount of change is based on an esoteric formula which is something that usually has to be argued between patent lawyers. On the other hand the original patent holder also cannot produce the improved version without a license of the improvements (which was one of the questions above).

A current case right now is between Gillette and Schick over razors. Gillette makes a 3 blade razor and has a bunch of patents on it and Schick now makes a 4 blade one which they got their own patent on. There are also other patents in effect for the basic razor design so most of Gillette’s and Schick’s patents are improvements or utility patents in this case. Gillette is accusing Schick of violating their 3 blade patent by saying that the 4 blade implementation is obvious while Schick is arguing that their 4 blade design is unique enough that they don’t need to pay any licensing to Gillette.

Like I said above, I’m not a patent lawyer and a lot of these arguments end up with them and the courts. The patents that I do have were written and issued while I was working in the automotive industry and I had to sign my rights to them over to the company I was working for. That company also filed for a number of what we referred to as side patents on the basic designs. They have a team of engineers who studied my designs and came up with variations which they felt a competitor may attempt to patent so to prevent this from happening they filed for those variations too. I believe this is a common practice.

When it comes to these puzzles, some of the improvements being made to the base V-Cube design may be enough of an improvement to not only be granted an improvement or utility patent on the change, but also allow for production of the improved puzzle. But it would take the courts to decide this. If you recall, one of the companies (which is not being named in accordance with this site’s KO policy) previously had a potential patent issue with Verdes and a puzzle was temporarily pulled from the market. Even though the specific pieces of the puzzle in question did not look like the same as shown in the V-Cube patent drawings, they did seem to violate some of the claims presented in the theory. I don’t know what happened with this issue “behind closed doors” but the potentially offending puzzle went back on the market and Verdes is no longer pursuing a claim against it. Neither side has said anything about this so we can only speculate on what happened. I do wonder if the existence of this 8x8x8 has anything to do with the outcome of that issue.

It would be great if we could get some input on this from a real patent lawyer. At lot of this should be of interest for many of the puzzle designers here.


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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:48 am 
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Thanks for the replies, it sounds like what I expected: No one really knows but our assumptions (base patent still holds) seem to agree.

Mr. Verdes doesn't seem the type to suddenly license his invention to those pirating him so I think it is fairly safe to say any improvements on his designs (differing blocking mechanisms for even cubes, for example) won't likely be able to be produced without violating patent law.

I haven't heard of any of these improvements being patented, so one can assume any puzzles produced with them have likely now put those improvements into the public domain, at which point Mr. Verdes may be able (patent wise) to use them in his own productions. I don't anticipate this, as he seems to want to do things with his own design.
It is possible these improvements have been included in Chinese issued patents that have overridden (in China) the Verdes patent. If any of our Chinese members have the ability to find this out (i.e. a link to one of the Chinese patents) I would be interested in knowing.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:30 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
I haven't heard of any of these improvements being patented, so one can assume any puzzles produced with them have likely now put those improvements into the public domain, at which point Mr. Verdes may be able (patent wise) to use them in his own productions.
This touches on a topic that bothers me about this sites KO policy. Let me ask these two questions:

(1) Let's assume there is an "improvement" that hasn't been patented and is now a part of the public domain. If Mr. Verdes uses this "improvement" and is ok in doing so "patent wise" would this site still view such a puzzle as a KO? Would we respect the inventor of this "improvement" and discourage the promotion of such a puzzle?

After you've answered that question and as I don't want to pick on any other designers here, I'll pick on myself.

(2) I've produced and sold a Doctor Skewb. I do not have a patent on its design. So in effect "patent wise" I've now released this puzzle to the public domain. Now let's say company X mass produces the Doctor Skewb without my knowledge nor gives me any credit. From what I've seen on this site such a puzzle would be viewed as a KO puzzle. Correct? Or would it require me to be vocally upset by company X's actions?

If these two questions are answered differently can someone explain the difference in logic to me?

Just asking the questions... curious to hear the answers,
Carl

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:35 pm 
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wwwmwww wrote:
(1) Let's assume there is an "improvement" that hasn't been patented and is now a part of the public domain. If Mr. Verdes uses this "improvement" and is ok in doing so "patent wise" would this site still view such a puzzle as a KO? Would we respect the inventor of this "improvement" and discourage the promotion of such a puzzle?
That depends greatly on how it was done. There is a long tradition of collaboration on our site and in our industry. Where parties respect each other and give consent, there is no reason for this to be considered KO.
At the same time, our KO policy does not single out individuals and put them in the category of "victim" or "infringer". One can certainly simultaneously have their IP disrespectfully used by others and equally disrespectfully use the IP of others. So yes, it is possible that someone like Verdes, Okamoto, Jason Smith, TomZ, etc. could incorporate the work of others (without their consent) into designs of theirs that have been KOd. The result would of course be considered KO on this site, consistent with our goal of respect. Of course, I would not expect such behavior from them, but hypothetically that is how the site's policy would be applied.

wwwmwww wrote:
(2) I've produced and sold a Doctor Skewb. I do not have a patent on its design. So in effect "patent wise" I've now released this puzzle to the public domain. Now let's say company X mass produces the Doctor Skewb without my knowledge nor gives me any credit. From what I've seen on this site such a puzzle would be viewed as a KO puzzle. Correct?
First off my goal would be to ascertain if their production was independent or a clear grab of your design. Simultaneous invention (Bevel/Helicopter cube, for example) does happen and must be considered. Another example is the Rua, which the.drizzle posted about here a few years back and we only recently found out David Pitcher had created the same puzzle a few years before that. When one posts on TP is a marker in time and certainly can be used as evidence but doesn't guarantee novelty or uniqueness.
Often people jump to conclusions that a mass produced puzzle is a copy of a hand built item but fail to consider the long lead time mass production requires. This must be examined to see if it is plausible the first public display of the hand built could have been used as a reference.
wwwmwww wrote:
Or would it require me to be vocally upset by company X's actions?
That would certainly be a factor. If you were found to be the first maker of that design the site would look to your feelings on the matter. If you didn't feel disrespected there would be no reason to consider it KO, as that amounts to making your design public domain. For example:
I was the first known builder of the Square-2. But clearly others built it without knowing about mine (simultaneous invention) and although mine was demonstrated to be first, I make no claim to this design. I find it just too obvious. So the mass produced version of this, even though likely created in reference to what was seen on this site, is not considered KO.

No one needs to be vocally upset to gain these rights. But certainly the feelings of what we consider to be the "inventor" or "designer" are what our policy is concerned with, so they are very relevant. If someone is being disrespectful to those this forum values, this forum won't be a part of it.

wwwmwww wrote:
If these two questions are answered differently can someone explain the difference in logic to me?
Although the answers aren't identical, I think they are consistent. I think one must be careful not to make the assumption the site picks favorites and just supports their actions, right or wrong.

It turns out enforcing this fairly is a large amount of work and is rarely, it seems, straight forward. So I appreciate the assistance of the community in gathering solid data and keeping questionable items private until we can make a determination. Should our determination be seen to be incorrect, solid data can certainly change our minds.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:44 pm 
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I have to say you handeled those questions rather well. I'm impressed.

DLitwin wrote:
wwwmwww wrote:
(1) Let's assume there is an "improvement" that hasn't been patented and is now a part of the public domain. If Mr. Verdes uses this "improvement" and is ok in doing so "patent wise" would this site still view such a puzzle as a KO? Would we respect the inventor of this "improvement" and discourage the promotion of such a puzzle?
That depends greatly on how it was done.
And there is no guarentee we would have all the needed details. Mr. Verdes may choose not to disclose details and an "improvement" he appeared to copy (even if that inventor is upset) may have been developed internally prior and just not disclosed. If we then labeled such a puzzle as a KO and that had a negative impact on his business would that open up this site to legal action if Mr. Verdes hadn't done anything illegal? I honestly don't know.

Something else I see that while being maybe the right thing to do I'm not certain its legal. At the very least it appears to be dishonest. Many of the puzzles that Mefferts has taken to mass production which were first on Shapeways, have had their shapeways listing taken down, their youtube videos made private or taken down, and even entire threads here at Twisty Puzzles have been removed. I understand this is due to Meffert trying to get a patent (or some legal protection) of the design before he takes it to mass production. However in order to get a patent the idea/product should not be shown or available publically before the patent is granted (or at least applied for). I'm no patent expert but these activities appear to be an effort to hide these details form those that are granting the patent/protection. Don't get me wrong, I understand why this is being done but the way its being done strikes me as being dishonest. And I don't know if a patent obtained this way would be enforceable if someone wanted to contest it with proof the puzzle was available on shapeways prior to the application. So even if this is legal, maybe it is as I'm sure the patent office is more then happy to take your money, does it offer any real protection? Again... I just don't know.

While I'm all in favor of offering designers as much respect as possible I'm just worried there are enough gray areas in the KO policy we are trying to apply they at somepoint it could hurt a valued designer (Mr. Verdes in the above example) or it might even subject this site to legal action. There is right/wrong and there is legal/illegal and the two don't always overlap perfectly. Let's just say I have concerns where this KO policy might take us someday.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:27 pm 
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wwwmwww wrote:
And there is no guarentee we would have all the needed details. Mr. Verdes may choose not to disclose details and an "improvement" he appeared to copy (even if that inventor is upset) may have been developed internally prior and just not disclosed.
We're branching pretty far into hypotheticals. To the degree that someone acts in a disrespectful manner, they can expect little favor from this site.
wwwmwww wrote:
If we then labeled such a puzzle as a KO and that had a negative impact on his business would that open up this site to legal action if Mr. Verdes hadn't done anything illegal? I honestly don't know.
I don't see how this site's policy could expose it to legal action. This site has no legal obligation to anyone outside of complying with COPPA rules. Content exists on this site at the pleasure of the site owner (Sandy) and he has appointed Admins and Moderators to act on his behalf. Members have the privilege to contribute content (which makes our community) but Sandy has no obligation to publish it, and according to the site rules and discretion of the staff it can be modified or removed. Unless the site itself went into the realm of libel I can't see any legal issue, and removal of content certainly isn't libel.
wwwmwww wrote:
Something else I see that while being maybe the right thing to do I'm not certain its legal. At the very least it appears to be dishonest. Many of the puzzles that Mefferts has taken to mass production which were first on Shapeways, have had their shapeways listing taken down, their youtube videos made private or taken down, and even entire threads here at Twisty Puzzles have been removed.
Let's pause here and assess these statements. Actions taken to remove things from Shapeways or Youtube aren't any of our business.
Threads may be removed from TP for a few reasons, but they way you describe it here smacks of conspiracy.
wwwmwww wrote:
I understand this is due to Meffert trying to get a patent (or some legal protection) of the design before he takes it to mass production. However in order to get a patent the idea/product should not be shown or available publically before the patent is granted (or at least applied for). I'm no patent expert but these activities appear to be an effort to hide these details form those that are granting the patent/protection. Don't get me wrong, I understand why this is being done but the way its being done strikes me as being dishonest. And I don't know if a patent obtained this way would be enforceable if someone wanted to contest it with proof the puzzle was available on shapeways prior to the application. So even if this is legal, maybe it is as I'm sure the patent office is more then happy to take your money, does it offer any real protection? Again... I just don't know.
I'm not involved in any of that, nor aware of it on this forum. Do you have examples and evidence this is driven by Meffert? These are pretty strong allegations.

Removal of content from this site isn't something we take lightly.

In the past it has happened mostly around matters of disrespect (either personal or KO related) and on occasion by the author's request although the site has no obligation to honor that. Members are free to edit the contents of their own posts of course.
wwwmwww wrote:
While I'm all in favor of offering designers as much respect as possible I'm just worried there are enough gray areas in the KO policy we are trying to apply they at somepoint it could hurt a valued designer (Mr. Verdes in the above example) or it might even subject this site to legal action. There is right/wrong and there is legal/illegal and the two don't always overlap perfectly. Let's just say I have concerns where this KO policy might take us someday.
This is confusing to me. If the point of the policy is to respect those we value. I don't think this can be applied in an illegal way, but even if it could we certainly wouldn't.
In the example you site (again, purely hypothetical so let's not imply we're talking about any actual action) the designer would be breaking our KO policy and be entitled to no protection from it. As stated, this site doesn't choose favored designers and just represent their interests. It attempts to respect their contributions. To the extent these contributions do not disrespect others, of course.

Once again this is the great wisdom in the way sausage framed our policy to begin with: Not a set of black and white laws, but a goal to do what is proper, as interpreted by the (hopefully) sound judgement of the Admins and Moderators.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:50 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
We're branching pretty far into hypotheticals.
Agreed. Just asking questions about situations I see as possible. I don't claim to have the answers but they do make me think.
DLitwin wrote:
To the degree that someone acts in a disrespectful manner, they can expect little favor from this site.
I mean no disrespect. I purchace many puzzles from Mefferts and I really appreciate all he's done for this hobby. Its just that someone looking in from the outside (just as myself) see things that make me wonder. If my last few posts have crossed a line please feel free to delete them. I won't object.
DLitwin wrote:
I don't see how this site's policy could expose it to legal action. This site has no legal obligation to anyone outside of complying with COPPA rules. Content exists on this site at the pleasure of the site owner (Sandy) and he has appointed Admins and Moderators to act on his behalf. Members have the privilege to contribute content (which makes our community) but Sandy has no obligation to publish it, and according to the site rules and discretion of the staff it can be modified or removed. Unless the site itself went into the realm of libel I can't see any legal issue, and removal of content certainly isn't libel.
But this site takes a stance which is stronger then just the removal of content. If all references to 8x8x8 puzzles were simply removed that is one thing. But the title of this very thread goes so far as to call all exiting 8x8x8's KO puzzles. I agree in this case its almost certainly correct but could that by itself be considered libel if it could be proven to hurt the sale of 8x8x8 puzzles? Again, my degree isn't in law and this isn't my site, but if this were my site it would be a question I'd want to know the answer to.
DLitwin wrote:
Let's pause here and assess these statements. Actions taken to remove things from Shapeways or Youtube aren't any of our business.
Fair enough.
DLitwin wrote:
Threads may be removed from TP for a few reasons, but they way you describe it here smacks of conspiracy.
<SNIP>
I'm not involved in any of that, nor aware of it on this forum. Do you have examples and evidence this is driven by Meffert? These are pretty strong allegations.

Removal of content from this site isn't something we take lightly.
Again I'm on the outside looking in and I haven't seen any direct statements from Mefferts but I'm just putting together the pieces that I can see and have mentioned before. See my post here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=266648#p266648
The original thread on Fluffy Cube was here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&p=215121
And the only statement given for its removal that I'm aware of is here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=259346#p259346
grigr said he had a reason. I admit I'm making the ASSUMPTION that that reason was because Meffert Venus Cube was in development. I have NO proof that is the case but it does appear to be a reasonable assumption to make. Particularly in light of Timur comment here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=263598#p263598
He's worked with Mefferts before so he appears to be in a position to know.
DLitwin wrote:
This is confusing to me. If the point of the policy is to respect those we value. I don't think this can be applied in an illegal way, but even if it could we certainly wouldn't.
In the example you site (again, purely hypothetical so let's not imply we're talking about any actual action)...
I'm not saying Twisty Puzzles is trying to take legal action... I love this site and its designers... and I certainly don't want to see the site in trouble for the best meaning of intentions. I honestly don't know if this site appling the label of KO to any particular puzzle could ever be considered libel or not but if so there appears to me hypothetical situations which could get this site in trouble. There are just aspects of this which make me a bit nervous. Again no disrespect intended, I just wanted to raise issues that those inforcing the KO policy may want to consider if they haven't already. I don't have the answers... just questions which make me think. And again if you feel I've gone too far please feel free to delete this post. I won't object.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:10 am 
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wwwmwww wrote:
DLitwin wrote:
To the degree that someone acts in a disrespectful manner, they can expect little favor from this site.
I mean no disrespect.
None taken :) My comments were not directed at you, but were in reference to hypothetical disrespectful use of other's innovation by puzzle designers/producers.
wwwmwww wrote:
If my last few posts have crossed a line please feel free to delete them. I won't object.
It takes far more than that to make a Admin/Mod start editing/deleting. Really, our preference is to edit or delete as little as possible. I would consider this conversation quite productive and a good contribution to the community, exactly the sort of thing we are trying to encourage :)
wwwmwww wrote:
But this site takes a stance which is stronger then just the removal of content. If all references to 8x8x8 puzzles were simply removed that is one thing. But the title of this very thread goes so far as to call all exiting 8x8x8's KO puzzles. I agree in this case its almost certainly correct but could that by itself be considered libel if it could be proven to hurt the sale of 8x8x8 puzzles? Again, my degree isn't in law and this isn't my site, but if this were my site it would be a question I'd want to know the answer to.
I am not a lawyer either, but the assignation of the KO label on this site is a matter of opinion (by the Admin/Mod) hence I would think covered by most country's free speech laws. We've taken pains to make clear that it isn't this site's business to tell people what they can or can't buy. If the maker of a 8x8x8 feels their product is unfairly designated KO on our site they are free to contact us and have a discussion on the matter, I've also made it clear designations are subject to change with new facts/evidence.
In most legal systems pretty much anyone can sue anyone else for most any reason. But can they prevail? That requires having a compelling set of facts. I don't foresee our KO policy being so sloppily applied that it would be indefensible in court.
wwwmwww wrote:
DLitwin wrote:
Do you have examples and evidence this is driven by Meffert?
And the only statement given for its removal that I'm aware of is here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=259346#p259346
grigr said he had a reason. I admit I'm making the ASSUMPTION that that reason was because Meffert Venus Cube was in development. I have NO proof that is the case but it does appear to be a reasonable assumption to make. Particularly in light of Timur comment here:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=263598#p263598
He's worked with Mefferts before so he appears to be in a position to know.
Got it. Yes, I can see in this case it does seem that is a reasonable analysis. I certainly didn't remove any posts or threads but grigr does have that privilege and ability to do so for his own contributions.
There have been requests to take down content in the past and it isn't our preference to do so. We have in some occasions where a member wanted to regain some online privacy, and I could see removing some content if a product was accidentally leaked without the owners consent (I considered this for the V-3 where it was clearly an unauthorized leak, but it was not requested). I would have to ask katsmom about the topic removal.
wwwmwww wrote:
I honestly don't know if this site appling the label of KO to any particular puzzle could ever be considered libel or not but if so there appears to me hypothetical situations which could get this site in trouble.
Thanks for the concern. There are always hypothetical situations that can lead to trouble, but I don't think we're too close to any. We're a fairly polite group of people who talk about puzzles. Compared to the rest of the internet we're quite tame. If we're in danger I can only imagine the peril of others :)

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:36 am 
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Sorry to butt in, Dave and Carl, I'm enjoying your conversation, but I have a couple of things...

1) This issue really intrigues me. When I first started collecting these puzzles I had no concept of what a KO even was. So I ended up buying a few puzzles which were KOs. I'm fairly sure one of them is a KO simply because it's so crappily made and all its stickers are peeling off. What would have been amazingly more helpful for me when I started buying up puzzles, was to have a list of known KOs, plain as day, so people like me could see why it was a KO, and get to know which manufacturers weren't quite above board. And then also exercise my own judgment about whether or not I should support the manufacturer. As you've said, this site's policy is not to tell people what to buy or not buy. But by not even providing a list, it's like the site says "This puzzle is a KO!! Beware!" and I say "Which puzzle? Tell me, so I can avoid it" and the site says "We're not telling you which puzzle not to buy...but make sure you're aware of which one not to buy!" This doesn't seem normal to me. I'm fairly sure someone else wrote earlier along the same lines. Surely the logical thing to do would be to make people *more* aware of which ones were KOs?

2) Which leads to my second conundrum. Time and again, katsmom has said that the man behind the company in question is an honourable man. But apparently now he has made a KO product. I don't get it. :?

Can you clarify either of these?

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:38 am 
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rline wrote:
1) ... What would have been amazingly more helpful for me when I started buying up puzzles, was to have a list of known KOs, plain as day, so people like me could see why it was a KO, and get to know which manufacturers weren't quite above board. And then also exercise my own judgment about whether or not I should support the manufacturer. As you've said, this site's policy is not to tell people what to buy or not buy. But by not even providing a list, it's like the site says "This puzzle is a KO!! Beware!" and I say "Which puzzle? Tell me, so I can avoid it" and the site says "We're not telling you which puzzle not to buy...but make sure you're aware of which one not to buy!" This doesn't seem normal to me. I'm fairly sure someone else wrote earlier along the same lines. Surely the logical thing to do would be to make people *more* aware of which ones were KOs?
I address this here. While not as convenient as a blacklist, here is a whitelist. I still haven't received much help filling it out...
rline wrote:
2) Which leads to my second conundrum. Time and again, katsmom has said that the man behind the company in question is an honourable man. But apparently now he has made a KO product. I don't get it. :?
If only things were simple... :)
There isn't widespread agreement on what is or is not appropriate to copy. This site has its own standard, there is the legal standard (not enforced uniformly depending on the country), and each one of us has their own particular set of ethics. As such it is quite understandable that someone may be very honorable in many aspects but perhaps differ from others in some areas. And the history of conduct of a particular party doesn't dictate the status of any individual puzzle with regard to our policy, although it is of course one of the many considerations.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:39 am 
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Thanks Dave,

I appreciate you pointing me to those pages. I read the whole of the first page (not post) of the first link, and see that this appears to be a perennial issue. I only wish the whitelist of the 2nd link was far more comprehensive. Again, thanks for clarifying.

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 Post subject: Re: 8x8x8s: No non-KO yet :(
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:56 am 
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This deserves more of an answer than I can give now. (CNY family dinner and all). I will say that I do indeed think that Mf8 is a very honorable man. Yes, I have said that time and again. As a recent example, he was thinking of making a puzzle and when I mentioned that Tony made it first, we then looked at Tony's black list and Mf8 decided on the spot not to make it.

My opinion of people as people does not change forum policy, and I am very careful to not let one cross the other. When I'm in doubt, I ALWAYS ask Dave for his opinion.

And to further answer, the only post I deleted at someone's request was one that was out up in January that was taken without permission. We (TP) were asked to take it down and I did. I have never removed posts because Uwe asked me to (much to his displeasure). That would cross a line that I won't do even for him.

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