At a meeting on Capitol Hill last month hosted by Public Knowledge, open-source hardware enthusiasts discussed why they choose to invent without patents, and why patents don’t provide the “fuel of interest” they once did. Alicia Gibb, head of the new Open Source Hardware Association, explained that patents were created in the spirit of open sourcing. “When you get a patent, you have to open-source the designs,” Gibb said. “You have to tell people what you’re doing and how you did it.” The difference, of course, is that patents give creators 20 years of exclusive rights to their invention.
The open-source model, on the other hand, invites anyone to re-create, redesign, and improve a product as they wish. Many small or independent inventors (or makers, tinkerers, etc.) post their designs online to get feedback from the community. Since they don’t really want exclusive rights, they don’t see value in securing patents. Instead, they want their products to spread around and be improved upon rapidly. To them, as Public Knowledge attorney Michael Weinberg describes it, patents are a barrier rather than a shield.
Also in that article – Inventive Abe. In 1849, a future president patented an ingenious addition to transportation technology.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.