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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:13 am 
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:shock:

How did nobody notice that!? It's been out longer/about the same time as the Guhong!

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:19 am 
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(ignore)


Last edited by Stefan Pochmann on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:42 am 
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Although there is a resemblance visually it is the language of the actually patten that is most likely going to make a difference. Plus I doubt that Verdes is concerned that the gear cube is going to intrude on the sale of the V-cube 3x3 if/when it is ever released.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:24 pm 
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As many have already commented, please try to spend less time on visual comparison and more time on the text and claims of the patent.

Regarding the Gear cube: The resemblance was noticed some time ago (thanks to those who had the courtesy of PMs to the moderator!) and both Verdes and Oskar were in contact about it. Although I do not know the details (none of my business), I have been assured by both parties that there was and is no conflict on the matter.

I cannot, based on this information, say that there is (or is not) any potential infringement by the Gear Cube on the Verdes patent. I didn't ask this question and it wasn't answered. My interest was in resolving the questions some members had regarding the similarity and if there was any issue for the purposes of the site's KO designation (a separate definition from patent issues). The definitive answer is that there are no KO issues here as clarified by both designers.

So what this tells us is that *if* there was any potential infringement it is sanctioned for this production of this puzzle.

Sorry that this doesn't help much in understanding what is and is not covered by the patent, but it seemed like an important clarification to make in this context.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:27 pm 
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The early discussion about improved mechanisms in this forum was more about spherical shells than conical cuts, although those follow implicitly. Basically all the early discussions of how to make mechanisms which referenced Jaap's applet were implicitly talking about this sort of tweaking.

The date of the Verdes patent is May 13, 2004, so that's the relevant date for prior art.

A lot of people here seem to be assuming that because someone has a patent anything which looks like it might be infringing must be infringing. That is not the case. Patents can be found invalid after granting because of prior art or obviousness, and most patents which are challenged lose.

Certainly if it had occurred to me that anyone might do patent trolling for improvements to the rubik's cube mechanism, I'd have taken steps to make explicit prior art, but I'm more interesting in inventing things than dealing with the legal system.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:58 pm 
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I just realised something: conical cuts may have been used prior to Verdes, but only in non-cubic puzzles like Megaminx (somebody please confirm), in which case that might explain why Verdes had to limit his patent to cubic puzzles, to avoid issues with prior art.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Here's the post announcing Jaap's applet - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2614 It's dated about a month before the Verdes filing, so there might not be all that much prior art on this forum.

I'm not a patent lawyer, but reading over the patent it appears to be very poorly written from a legal standpoint. It's well written from a helping you reproduce the invention standpoint, but most patents go the other way, being completely unintelligible but making broad claims. Instead of being structured as a bunch of separable claims with minimalist supporting pictures, it's a bunch of very detailed pictures followed by a free-form explanation of why the invention was made that way. Given this structure, it's unclear whether *any* deviation from exactly what's given in the pictures might avoid the patent, and the Dayan cubes are quite physically different.

There's a reference to spherical shapes and conical cuts in the explanation, but they aren't a *claim*. It's basically saying 'We claim this invention, which you might notice has conical cuts', which is very different from 'We claim any puzzle mechanism involving conical cuts'. It's a bit confusing, because the patent uses the word 'claim' in that section, but it says 'we claim the advantages are...' and then proceeds to give some fairly accurate reasons why this is a good idea, but that does absolutely nothing to strengthen the patent, because the defensibility of a patent has to do with the strength of its claims, not with whether the thing it's claiming is actually a good idea.

If the patent were well-written and broad, then most likely the first claim would be one of using spherical shells and conical cuts instead of conical shells and straight cuts, but it just plain isn't written that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:29 pm 
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It would seem like the patent is more of a statement like "We made this" rather than "This is what we claim to have invented", then?

Reading over these posts, I think I gather that it's understood what is a v-mech, but wasn't really specifically patented in the official patent.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Bram wrote:
The date of the Verdes patent is May 13, 2004

May 21, 2003 for the Greek one.

Bram wrote:
most patents which are challenged lose

Most patents which wouldn't lose aren't challenged?

Kelvin Stott wrote:
I just realised something: conical cuts may have been used prior to Verdes, but only in non-cubic puzzles like Megaminx (somebody please confirm)

The megaminxes I checked all just have cylinders. So far the only older puzzle with cones that I've found is the brain ball.

Bram wrote:
it's unclear whether *any* deviation from exactly what's given in the pictures might avoid the patent, and the Dayan cubes are quite physically different.

The pictures are not part of the claims.

Bram wrote:
If the patent were well-written and broad, then most likely the first claim would be one of using spherical shells and conical cuts instead of conical shells and straight cuts, but it just plain isn't written that way.

It does talk about both sperical shells and conical surfaces.

NType3 wrote:
It would seem like the patent is more of a statement like "We made this" rather than "This is what we claim to have invented", then?

What about the whole claims part?


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Okay, so I've found the claims section now. Those of you familiar with patents should skip to the last two pages, the rest of the patent is legally superfluous.

The problem I explained before applies equally to the claims section. Claim 1, which is the one where everything novel in this patent is given, is one big detailed description, not written as much more general separable claims. In particular, conical cuts are not called out as a separate claim, as a bunch of people here seem to be assuming they are. It's highly likely that the Dayan cube could win an infringement case simply because it's sufficiently different. It's certainly extremely preemptive for Ebay to block transactions based on mere allegations based on this patent.

Also, I'm pretty sure the claims past 1 could be thrown out due to obviousness, and am rather surprised that this patent was granted in the first place because of that.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Which document are you looking at Bram? The last 2 pages of the one I'm looking at aren't that informative.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:32 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
Which document are you looking at Bram? The last 2 pages of the one I'm looking at aren't that informative.


I'm looking at this one. The claims section of the european patent starts on page 13, it's basically the same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:45 am 
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Bram wrote:
I'm looking at this one.
Bram wrote:
Okay, so I've found the claims section now. Those of you familiar with patents should skip to the last two pages

Yeah, simply click on "Claims" in the navigation on the top left.

Bram wrote:
conical cuts are not called out as a separate claim, as a bunch of people here seem to be assuming they are.

Don't know if I'm among those you mean, but I don't assume that. Anyway, for this case it doesn't matter whether that's separate or part of claim 1, as Verdes thinks the Dayans match the whole claim 1.

Bram wrote:
Also, I'm pretty sure the claims past 1 could be thrown out due to obviousness, and am rather surprised that this patent was granted in the first place because of that.

I don't think they're obvious. But if they were, why would that prevent the patent from getting granted?


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:54 pm 
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Stefan Pochmann wrote:
Bram wrote:
conical cuts are not called out as a separate claim, as a bunch of people here seem to be assuming they are.

Don't know if I'm among those you mean, but I don't assume that. Anyway, for this case it doesn't matter whether that's separate or part of claim 1, as Verdes thinks the Dayans match the whole claim 1.


The focus on conical cuts implies that people think that Verdes has a patent on conical cuts. They do not. They have a patent on a mechanism which uses some conical cuts, which is one detail among many. Just because an innovation was first used in a particular patent doesn't mean the innovation by itself is patented.

Verdes could claim that Dayans match the whole claim 1 (it isn't totally clear what claim they're making here, other than one of some kind of infringement to the patent as a whole) but I find such a claim rather dubious - Dayans both look substantially different and are very improved over the Verdes design.

Stefan Pochmann wrote:
Bram wrote:
Also, I'm pretty sure the claims past 1 could be thrown out due to obviousness, and am rather surprised that this patent was granted in the first place because of that.

I don't think they're obvious. But if they were, why would that prevent the patent from getting granted?


The claims to making it cubical and using springs in the caps were applying a previously used method or process to a similar thing which it had been applied to before, with a predictable effect, which clearly falls under the most recent supreme court decision describing what 'obvious' means.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Do you think the patent is too general to make a claim, then? Is this a possibility Verdes should be concerned about?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:23 pm 
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Bram, only Claim 1 is important to define the scope of the invention in terms of what is novel and not obvious. Any subsequent claims are dependent on Claim 1 and are just specific examples of the main invention. It is quite normal for these to be obvious examples of Claim 1, since each claim doesn't need to be a whole new invention.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Bram wrote:
The focus on conical cuts implies that people think that Verdes has a patent on conical cuts.

Nah. More like implies that people have understood that it's a crucial element. Your cube mech doesn't have conical cuts? No problem. It does? Potentially a problem, and likely so, given that it likely has the other elements as well (after all, the V-mech is fairly close to previous mechs, except for the cones).

Bram wrote:
Verdes could claim that Dayans match the whole claim 1 (it isn't totally clear what claim they're making here, other than one of some kind of infringement to the patent as a whole) but I find such a claim rather dubious - Dayans both look substantially different and are very improved over the Verdes design.

Yes, they think it matches the whole claim 1. And no, the Dayans don't look that substantially different. Just increase the angle in figure 3.6 and the big wings disappear. Reduce the sphere diameters and indents and you get really close. And the specific angle/diameters used in the drawings are not defined in the claims.

Bram wrote:
The claims to making it cubical and using springs in the caps were applying a previously used method or process to a similar thing which it had been applied to before, with a predictable effect, which clearly falls under the most recent supreme court decision describing what 'obvious' means.

You mean KSR v. Teleflex? I think that's something entirely different. That combined already known things. The Verdes patent claims combine one known thing (e.g., springs) with one unknown thing (the V-mech from claim 1).


Last edited by Stefan Pochmann on Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:47 pm 
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Stefan Pochmann wrote:
the Dayans don't look that substantially different. Just increase the angle in figure 3.6 and the big wings disappear. Reduce the sphere diameters and indents and you get really close. And the specific angle/diameters used in the drawings are not defined in the claims.


This is a subjective judgement but I have to disagree. If you eyeball a 7towns cube, a Verdes cube, and a Dayan, the Dayan definitely looks like the odd one out.

In this case the claims can't be fully parsed out from the text alone, so you have to go at least partially by what's in the diagrams.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Bram, the diagrams show one possible explicit implementation of the claims. Doesn't mean it has to look that way. Look at Garrett's PDF again to see a GuHong-similar V-3. Eyeball *that* instead and tell me it's not the 7towns now that looks like the odd one out.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Hi,

Something I've been wondering about this whole time... How exactly would Verdes go about suing a China based company. Based on rhetoric we get here in the U.S. about China, they seem to be a very insular country. Would China even honor such a lawsuit? I realize these questions may seem possibly monumentally ignorant, so I'm sincerely looking for clarification/education on the matter.

Mike

PS: I need to emphasize that I'm not trying to start some political flamewar here, I just don't understand how patent law works from one country to another, and specifically China.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:08 pm 
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prostx23 wrote:
How exactly would Verdes go about suing a China based company?

Most likely they would hire a Chinese patent attorney (probably the same one they used to file their Chinese patent application) to manage this process. However lawsuits filed against Chinese companies by foreign companies in China can seriously backfire, as it did with Schneider.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:12 pm 
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Please see http://www.speedsolving.com/forum/showt ... post511205 for an update.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Bryan wrote:
Awesome. Here's a few highlights:

V-Cube wrote:
V-Cubes is not currently involved with any IP reporting with respect to Dayan and Maru, and is not taking actions against either company. After extensive talks with all involved parties, sales of Dayan and Maru products will be resumed immediately (effective January 1st 2011).
I wonder if they just didn't want bad PR/legal troubles or if the patent really doesn't hold up. Either way, yay.

V-Cube wrote:
A new year has just started and we look forward to a strong 2011 for cubing and we will continue to support the cubing community. February 20th will be a particularly exciting day because we will announce a new product at the WCA competition, "Mall of America 2011". We are all quite proud to participate in the organization this event.
:shock: :) :D :mrgreen: (need an emoticon with an even bigger smile...)

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:53 pm 
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V-Cube wrote:
A new year has just started and we look forward to a strong 2011 for cubing and we will continue to support the cubing community. February 20th will be a particularly exciting day because we will announce a new product at the WCA competition, "Mall of America 2011". We are all quite proud to participate in the organization this event.


I'm really excited now! I've wanted to see a new product from them for months!

Oh, and I'm also glad this whole thing blew over.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:43 am 
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Thank you Verdes, and thank you Tyson for working together to come to a resolve.



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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:15 pm 
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I am thankful this whole situation has been resolved. It seemed to have been yet another example of the letter of the law being in conflicts with the spirit of the law. I consider this one of the rare instances in which the spirit prevailed, and for that, the affected parties should be deeply thankful. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:59 pm 
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I am really glad this ended in peace! :)

Thank you all for passing on all this info!

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