Drama Alert: FYSETC Patents Voron?

I was browsing Facebook groups this morning and it seems that FYSETC whos most famously known for cloning Prusa products and releasing a line of Voron kits has trademarked a few brand names in China which is resulting in the community questioning their intentions.

They released an official statement as seen below:

What are your thoughts on FYSETC’s trademarks?

For many years, the 3d printing community has been fighting back against many companies for GPL violations as many Chinese 3d printer manufacturers used closed source Marlin firmware in their 3d printers. 3D Printing Nerd did a video on this many years ago: Creality 3D, the CR-10 3D Printer, and the GNU GPL Violation #GPLViolation - YouTube

To me, it looks like they got caught and are backpedalling with this statement release.


The part I could never understand is if you find a product and you like it, why would you try to patent it in another country. It’s not yours, You did no work for it, You were not smart enough to come up with it on your own, If it’s not yours leave it the hell alone.

To me, it’s no different than stealing a wallet. If it’s not yours leave it alone. There is no way to penalize people that are guilty of it in other countries, Drives me crazy.

This one hits a bit personal, I have a patent, and I own the intellectual rights to my design, I created it, I prototyped it, and I produce it. After looking around on the web one day I found another product that looks exactly like mine, and it’s produced as PP, Patent Pending. When I looked up the Patent it was my design, Because of the way Patent law is nothing I can do about it because of the country its in.

Hi Jason,

I used to run the patent process at Celestica and it’s probably the worst way to protect an idea at this time - when you publish a patent you’re literally telling your competition how to do things better and explaining how it works.

There are very few instances where a patent is an effective approach for protecting your IP. The criteria that I used for selecting ideas for patenting were:

  1. Are there other solutions to the problem that the IP can demonstrate that it is significantly better (non-intuitive requirement)?
  2. Can infringement of the patent be easily detected (ie looking at something can you tell if the IP is being used)?
  3. Is there a demonstrated market for the IP?

When you get a patent, you need to register it first in the US with Japan, China following and secondary countries like Malaysia and The Phillipines. It can be an incredibly costly and time consuming process for the inventor.

The best way to protect IP is with copyright - it’s a lot cheaper and much easier to take action against infringers. Simply put a copyright on the design so anything that looks like it can be challenged.

Ya, I found that out the hard way, everything since is copyright but got burned really hard on the Patent.

Makes people very gunshy, you want to protect it before you release it, but you need to release it in order to generate revenue to protect it. Whole chicken and the egg deal. Bit of a sore spot for me, Has made me very gun shy on releasing ideas I have floating around in my head.

The good news is that if somebody in the US violates your patent or IP (or you even think that they have) you can get a bottom feeder lawyer to sue them for less than $100 + commissions on the settlement.

The thing about patents is that they look cool on a resume and they’re actually really interesting documents that you can be proud of. My biggest headache was dealing with engineers that wanted the paper more than doing right by the business.

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This is nothing new, especially for the China market. It’s good that they are backpedalling and maybe getting the patent to the right parties … but at the end of the day it’s all a huge mess. And like you say it’s country vs country … aside from the HUGE parties with HUGE war chests of IP and HUGE legal teams, the rest means just about nothing these days. Unless you’re just overly litigious and have a lawyer and PO Box in Texas, then you can make some $$ from it.

@mykepredko we probably know (knew) someone in common. I had a good buddy that passed away a couple of years ago that worked at Celestica for a long time.

The only thing you have to do to get a patent is to file the paper work before anyone else. Who actually designed the item is irrelevant. I f someone sees your design and gets a patent on it first then it is theirs. Not just but that is how it works. As far as protecting your patent you would have to patent it in every country on the big blue marble to do that and then hope that all countries would enforce it.

A patent are only as good as your ability to pay lawyers to fight for it.

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I am not a lawyer, but I do have grey hairs specific to dealing intimately with intellectual property issues as well as a few lawsuits that arise from them.

The only thing you have to do to get a patent is to file the paper work before anyone else.

That’s not true - you need to be able to demonstrate that you were the first to come up with the concept. A notebook signed and dated by a second party (who can testify to their signature), an unopened registered letter sent to yourself with the idea documented within it or an email on a third party server (ie gmail.com) are all good enough to defend in court. This is also a requirement to get the patent in the first place - showing that you are responsible for the idea and when it was thought up.

The issue becomes sticky if somebody decides not to patent an idea and declare it a “trade secret” because, as I said above, patenting something is expensive and difficult to enforce. You have a year after coming up with a patentable idea to file but if you decided not to and declare it internally as a “trade secret” you can’t sue the patent holder. On the flip side, the patent holder probably can’t successfully sue you if you can demonstrate that you came up with the idea independently and before the patent holder. I believe that the patent holder can successfully sue the holders of a trade secret if they have licensed the technology to somebody else (as that is outside the scope of the definition of the a trade secret - it has to be held within house).

A patent are only as good as your ability to pay lawyers to fight for it.

Generally not true as in many jurisdictions (and I believe Ontario is now one of them) lawyers can work on contingency basis and will defend/sue for you for a very nominal charge with the expectation that there will be a settlement that they will get 30%-40% of. As I said above, they’re bottom feeders and they generally aren’t experts in IP law - they’re looking for a quick settlement they can dig their claws into. If things go bad, they’ll generally walk away leaving their client in a pretty bad situation claiming that the client didn’t properly represent the situation to them.

It is very easy to search for existing patents online and it is a good idea to do that if you think you have come up with a unique concept and you want to use it in a product. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, this is a service that law firms specializing in IP law will do for a fairly low fee (a couple/few thousand).

Do I need to point out that nobody here has indicated that they are a lawyer specializing in IP law and what we say is not necessarily correct? This is especially true when you’re talking about the laws of different countries/provinces/states.

If you have real questions, talk to a lawyer specializing in patent law and intellectual property.

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agreed people think they can steal the #7 from the calculator this is a problem and people whom add a 7 to the calculator or at least the math AKA the process and it sucks for this reason.

Your right I’m not a lawyer either, I still have some scruples. I don’t know how it works these days but in the past there where lots of cases of patent piracy where somebody did get a patent for other peoples work. Maybe today there are better controls over these things.

I still say that your patent is only as good as your ability to pay for lawyers to defend it. I remember years ago a small mom and pop company making pouring lids for the old, very old, style automotive oil containers (the round ones made out of cardboard with metal ends, younger people should just ignore this). They were not getting rich but making a good buck from it until a large company, not to be named, jumped in and started selling the same thing. A clear violation of the patent that mom and pop held. When confronted about it the “big” company said go a head and sue us if you want. They knew that the small company didn’t have the wherewithal to do it, the costs would have broken them and they ended up going out of business. So much for the vaunted patent system. The legal system is there to protect the rich not the rest of us.

There are still patent trolls and, if anything, they have gotten worse in recent years. There has been talk of legislating companies that own IP but don’t make anything and just use them as cash cows against companies they think are infringing, but that has never gone anywhere.

The best approach to a patent battle is to not get into it in the first place. Protect your work by documenting that you came up with the idea independently and only if you are very comfortable that you have an idea that is worth patenting then go to a reputable law firm that specializes in patents.

actually, the best kryptonite for a patent is prior art. I’ve had someone actually walk into my shop and tell me I can’t make a machine I had already been making for 10 years anymore because he made one and patented it. He once worked for the place that bought the first ones… got the dog to chase him back to his car.

YES! totally we had something called “Prepaid legal services” dunno if they are still around but through that, we met one guy that loves these kinds of things and will dog them to death.

But that is the flaw in the system, having to go to court to protect what is yours. Is the amount you will/may make from your idea or patent enough to justify the expense of a legal battle, even with a bottom feeder. If so then go for it but not every patent or idea is going to net you that much to make it worth the cost so you loose.

The bottom feeders don’t get paid unless you do. The cases have to be easy to argue or they won’t take them. If they are not easy to argue then you have to throw money at it and possibly hire firms in The offenders country too.

It feels like you are making pronouncements on something you don’t know about/have any experience with. I don’t know what you’re history is with patents and lawyers but all of them that I have worked with consider it a failure if things end up in court. That includes the sleazy ones looking for a quick buck.

Going to court is not like on TV - getting into the courtroom takes years and the cost of getting to that point can be astronomical.

Disputes start with letters, then phone calls in which demands are set out and 90% of the time things are resolved, often with lawyers approving settlements and wording. If there isn’t an agreement here and one party pushes for court then a meeting is set up before a judge who decides whether or not the case will go forwards with the judge pressing for a settlement, saying how they’ll rule based on the evidence so far, or making a summary ruling rather than scheduling a court date. 9.9% of the cases end here. Going through to this point generally costs less than $10k and validates what the lawyers are saying to a client that won’t listen to reason.

In the one in a thousand times the case goes to trial, years will go by with additional negotiations with the two parties, carrying out depositions and working through discovery as well as putting motions before the court. Of the cases that get this far, 90% or more end up in settlements because one party can’t continue the action - it’s incredibly time and money consuming and generally the outcome is known right from the start, the only reason that it gets this far is because both parties are stupid and stubborn.

I have been involved in a dozen or so IP disputes and only one got past the letter writing/phone call stage and it was resolved outside the judge’s chambers before we went in (it was a sleazy lawyer playing chicken, looking for a big settlement from IBM). It’s very obvious immediately who is in the right and lawyers on both sides will push for a quick resolution with resonable compensation. Total legal fees are typically in the hundreds of dollars - an hour or so explaining the situation to the lawyer and the creation of a letter with a quick phone call. Settlement costs are very reasonable as well, usually in the form of royalty payments going forward or the requirement that a design change so that it no longer infringes.

When arguing your rights, you should have a lawyer involved but it’s not very expensive and nor does it require you to go to court. Even getting to the letter writing stage means that somebody didn’t do their job in terms of due diligence in reviewing existing IP before going ahead with the product. For the IP owner it can awkward if the time taken to detect the infringement is excessive or that the infringer came up with the IP on their own independently as this means that the IP isn’t “non-intuitive” which is a basic requirement for a patent and they don’t want to have this challenge as it could result in the patent being negated.

Even patent trolls, and I was involved with one, want to avoid court as they want a quick resolution with a reasonable payback on their IP. They don’t want to be publicly labeled as patent trolls as that makes their targets more resistant to giving in so they want a quick and speedy resolution, usually in the form of a one time payment with either the design being changed so it no longer infringes or royalties going forward.

You don’t have to go court to protect what’s yours, the vast majority of IP disputes are resolved out of court for less than a thousand dollars amicably, quickly and fairly.


Going back to the original post, isn’t the Voron line of printers a well documented open source project. If so then can’t FYSETC just be ignored. By your parts were you want a build it, FYSETC can suck on it.

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I like the gesture of giving the patent back to Voron but it’s only a gesture, My personal feeling on it is, if it ain’t yours don’t try to take credit for it but that would be a HUGE conversation. Not sure if there is enough storage on the server for that one. :open_mouth: