By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Are we all infringing this patent?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Mark Fry24/04/2016 07:46:59
19 forum posts

Hi

I've just come across this patent which seems to encompass what machinists do everyday, i.e. take someone's CAD file, find parting line, etc.

Here's the claim:

1. A method of automated, custom mold manufacture for a part, the mold having a first half and a second half opposed to the first half, the first half and the second half together defining a cavity corresponding in shape to the part to be molded in the cavity, the method comprising:

  • creating a collection of stored information of standard tool geometries indicating surface profiles machinable by each of the standard tool geometries;
  • receiving a CAD file from a customer for the part to be molded, the CAD file defining a part surface profile;
  • assessing the CAD file to determine a straight pull z-direction, a parting line and corresponding shutoff surfaces separating the first half and the second half of the mold, so that the parting line and corresponding shutoff surfaces are oriented with respect to the part to permit straight pull of the first half and the second half in a straight-pull z-direction during molding of the part;
  • based upon the determined orientation of the straight-pull z-direction with respect to the part, processing the CAD file with a computer to automatically identify and locate a plurality of discrete machinable portions of the part surface profile, each machinable portion corresponding to a machining tool path machinable with a selected tool from within the collection of standard tool geometries, each of the machinable portions being tool accessible with the selected tool oriented in the straight-pull z-direction;
  • based upon the plurality of discrete machinable portions, computer generating a series of CNC machining instructions corresponding to machining the mold with the selected tools and computed machining tool paths; and
  • machining the cavity into the first and second halves of the mold with the selected tools and computed machining tool paths via the computer generated series of CNC machining instructions.

We practice the steps outlined, don't we?

 

Edited By Mark Fry on 24/04/2016 07:48:29

Neil Lickfold24/04/2016 08:01:50
637 forum posts
102 photos

You will find it is for software that does it as part of the software package that they are making/selling.

Neil

JasonB24/04/2016 08:02:20
avatar
Moderator
18885 forum posts
2080 photos
1 articles

I don't think many here have a program that will assess a part, produce files from that to make patterns and CNC cut the mould.

There are a few here who use CNC for pattern making but not many of those machine the cavity.

 

J

Edited By JasonB on 24/04/2016 08:02:47

Hopper24/04/2016 08:03:51
avatar
4804 forum posts
105 photos

We practice the steps outlined, don't we?

I guess if we were computers we would be breaching his patent?

Mark Fry24/04/2016 08:07:26
19 forum posts

But often CAD like Solidworks is used to generate CNC code. You load the model in Solidworks, assess the parting line and all, and generate CNC code. Isn't that very much what's specified in the claim?

The patent says:

More specifically, the present invention relates to software supported methods, systems and tools used in the design and fabrication of molds for custom plastic parts.

So, as long as it's "software supported", it could infringe the patent. No?

Mark Fry24/04/2016 08:10:42
19 forum posts
Posted by Hopper on 24/04/2016 08:03:51:

We practice the steps outlined, don't we?

I guess if we were computers we would be breaching his patent?

That's not how patents work. An "invention" is patented (automated or not), and if you put those steps into practice, then you as a human being infringe the patent.

Bob Stevenson24/04/2016 08:11:42
436 forum posts
7 photos

Yes lots of people are constantly infringing this so called "patent" but that's what it's for! The idea is to patent a very basic set of situations that seem very likely to occur in quantity and then sit down and wait until a large multi-national that's worth the time, money and effort to chase, falls into the net......then, a flurry of legal eagles will sort out how much the multi-national needs to pay to continue it's highly profitable activities.

These highly speculative 'catch-all' type patents were very common during the period that this one was written as it was considered to be a profitable fishing method for American patent lawyers and small(er) companies, although some larger concerns were also 'guilty'. You might remember that the large American software companies such as Adobe and Microsoft etc tried to patent the file types used by the main camera makers such as Nikon? They hoped that by taking out strategic patents on the file criteria that they would be able to gain a finacial foot in the door with the largest japanese camera and electronic groups but this failed in court.

These sort of largely spurious and speculative patent operations were essentially held back by UK patent legislation pre EU because UK law insisted on a degree of innovation in every patent....But American business was able to essentially change this in US patent law.

JasonB24/04/2016 08:13:02
avatar
Moderator
18885 forum posts
2080 photos
1 articles

It also says in the same sentence that the software is used specifically to "design and fabrication of molds for custom plastic parts" which is not what we do.

John Munroe24/04/2016 08:18:52
50 forum posts

Posted by JasonB on 24/04/2016 08:13:02:

It also says in the same sentence that the software is used specifically to "design and fabrication of molds for custom plastic parts" which is not what we do.

But if you were an injection moulder machining moulds, I'd guess you'd use CAD to generate CNC instructions.

Or do you?

JasonB24/04/2016 08:24:22
avatar
Moderator
18885 forum posts
2080 photos
1 articles
Posted by John Munroe on 24/04/2016 08:18:52:

Posted by JasonB on 24/04/2016 08:13:02:

It also says in the same sentence that the software is used specifically to "design and fabrication of molds for custom plastic parts" which is not what we do.

But if you were an injection moulder machining moulds, I'd guess you'd use CAD to generate CNC instructions.

Or do you?

Title says "We" which I take as the model engineering hobbists. I did say above that very few of us are likely to cut the mould but generally its not a common ME practice

Fatgadgi24/04/2016 08:53:59
163 forum posts
21 photos

Nah, don't think we should sell our equipment just yet

The key bits that they were clever about, reading the patent, was having a set of standard (injection) tool designs that the software can select from data sent by customer ..... along with all of the other steps. We (I) don't do that.

I'm surprised they could get a patent for that, but they must have been ahead of their time. Actually they built a great business from the concept and still offer fast tooling and CNC parts from a STEP file over the internet. I have used them many times for work.

Cheers Will

.

JA24/04/2016 09:00:48
980 forum posts
54 photos

You might be infringing their patent but you won't know until they have successfully taken you to court.

Other than on a company balance sheet patents are worth nothing unless they are enforced.

I seem to remember a past thread on patents.

JA

John Munroe24/04/2016 09:01:53
50 forum posts

@Will They don't have standard tool designs, right? Isn't it that their software just picks one from their set of endmills so that they could start machining automatically without an engineer setting things up manually?

Edited By John Munroe on 24/04/2016 09:03:02

Chris Evans 624/04/2016 09:08:34
avatar
1746 forum posts

Having spent my 50 years as a mould toolmaker from copy milling patterns to embracing CAD from the late 70s. I am possibly guilty, but did we not pay handsomely for the licence to use the software ? In the last 30 years companies I worked for ran many differing systems all correctly licenced.

Emgee24/04/2016 09:14:14
1717 forum posts
231 photos

The practise of mould making by cnc machines was being done way before this patent was lodged, it also states "receiving a file from a customer" so any all in house method would not infringe the patent.

It is everyday practise now to make moulds for laminated fuselages and wings to produce highly stressed model aircraft, these are cut by cnc machines. This is not ME as understood on this forum, we seem to draw a line between aeromodelling and model engineering.

I agree with Bob that the patent is no doubt lodged in the hope that one day it can be used to sue some wealthy company, I fail to understand why the patent was accepted when such practises had been used for years prior to the lodge date.

Emgee

Ajohnw24/04/2016 09:16:43
3631 forum posts
160 photos

In the past that would have been thrown out by many countries as it's obvious from a prior art point of view but probably not by the country of origin.

John

-

John Munroe24/04/2016 09:29:52
50 forum posts

@Emgee Don't you mean in-house methods would infringe rather than wouldn't infringe the patent?

Fatgadgi24/04/2016 09:39:43
163 forum posts
21 photos

Hi John

Yes, actually you are right (thanks)

But we would have to do all the other things as well for the patent to worry us.

Cheers Will

:

KWIL24/04/2016 10:27:54
3308 forum posts
63 photos

No infringements here, as Jason says the patent covers the software which accesses the CAD design as submitted and then generates an optimum machine path to make the desired mold. I do not think anyone here is doing that step by way of software.

John Munroe24/04/2016 10:54:10
50 forum posts

@KWIL Doesn't the patent cover any method that uses software to design and fabricate a mould? Does using CAD to load up the design and using CAM to generate the tool path fall under it? Don't most people here use CAM?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
ChesterUK
EngineDIY
cowells
emcomachinetools
Eccentric July 5 2018
Warco
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest