Is Sharing CAD files before you have a patent risky?

  1. I am making a prototype, all is ready, and the first frame of it will be made using foam and smaller moving parts using a 3d printer. Now I figured instead of cutting the foam myself I could use a CNC at a local "prototyping lab".

    But in order to do that I obviously have to give them all my CAD files, both for the mechanical moving parts and the body, is that a stupid thing to do if this is something I am going for a patent?

    I don't want people stealing my design or any legal problems.
  2. jcsd
  3. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You don't have to give them "all" your CAD files. They only need enough information to cut each part. They don't need to know how the parts fit together to make the complete device, or even what the complete device is supposed to do.

    In any case, any reputable commercial manufacturing company should have a standard non-disclosure agreement with its customers.

    In fact patenting your device would mean that you have to provide full disclosure in the patent documents to everybody in the world, not just your manufacturer. Many parts that are made by subcontractors are not patented (and never will be) to avoid that level of detail being put in the public domain.

    Having a patent might give you a nice warm feeling, but unless you also have a lot of money and a good legal team, it doesn't give you any real protection in practice. Some companies even employ engineers to read patents, extract the "good ideas" from them, and figure out a different way of achieving the same result to work around them.
  4. I hold six patents. You know how much in royalties I've made? $0.
  5. That was a sobering read. Capitalism is ruthless.
  6. What does that have to do with Capitalism?
  7. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If it was only a Capitalist problem, the safest place to outsource all your manufacturing would be China :biggrin:
  8. Quite obviously, how patents are dealt with is a symptom of a disgusting and outdated system.

    I will not get into political discussions here.
  9. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    No, they aren't. Patents exist for protection of intellectual property and the protection is best in western/capitalistic countries -- but as said, that doesn't really have anything to do with capitalism. It is more due to the fact that western countries are more stable and less corrupt than, say, China.
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