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 Post subject: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:55 am 
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With permission from Izovire, I'm copying and pasting a bit from his and my post on SpeedSolving.com

- IZOVIRE's post -

Hey everyone,

It looks like V-cube is claiming that the Dayan Guhong (and Lingyun) infringes their V-cube 3 Patent. A friend of mine noticed that his eBay listings of the Guhong had been stopped because of this issue.

Not too long ago they were disabling paypal accounts linked to sites that were selling Maru 4x4's... But stopping the Guhong? Why?

I'm a bit frustrated with this new issue, because it's a very hot selling item on my website. I have taken it off of my site because I can't afford a disabled account. I will look more into the patent, etc.

So what do you guys think about this? Hmmmm...




- PIXEL 6's post -

Izovire actually found this out from me when we met-up tonight, as it hit me first...

The only cube I sell at the moment is the modified GuHong. I get a message from eBay saying that both of my auctions for the Ultimate Lubix GuHong have been removed at Verdes request for Patent Infringement.

From what we can tell, Verdes is going after the GuHong and the LingYun. There are only 3 listings left on eBay that sell either of those cubes.

I'm kind of irritated right now, so am going to keep this short.
But basically know that this has happened within the past 12 hours, and it is going to be affecting all of you very soon.


Close your eyes... imagine no more GuHongs, no more LingYuns, and while you're at it...no more new cubes at all in general... How long until they go after Alpha? Now burn the image of V-Cube in your brain. Because they are the ones that are going to destroy it for us all.

If you have the GuHong and LingYun for sale on your website site... you may want to look into taking precautions to protect yourself. Ebay and PayPal are partners, and based on how quick Verdes had eBay simply remove my, and others' listings, there seems there would be no problem in Verdes having PayPal freeze your account. Be mindful.

- Pixel -



- MY MESSAGE FROM EBAY -

Dear speakerdamage33

You recently listed the following listing:

120640305552 - The Ultimate Lubix GuHong - DaYan 3x3 Cube BLACK
120657997536 - The Ultimate Lubix GuHong - DaYan 3x3 Cube WHITE


Your listing has been removed.

Your item was removed because of a request we received from Verdes Innovation S.A., a member of our Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), asking us to remove the item for:

- Item(s) has been adjudged to infringe a valid and enforceable patent (requires patent registration number and identification of claims adjudged to be infringed).

For more information on why your item was removed, you should:
- Contact Verdes Innovation S.A. directly at (REMOVED) with your questions or concerns.
- Wait 7 days for Verdes Innovation S.A. to reply to you. Although most VeRO participants are willing to respond to polite email, please know that they aren't obligated to reply.
- If after 7 days you haven't received a response from Verdes Innovation S.A., please contact us by simply replying to this email.

The rights owner or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the rights owner, Verdes Innovation S.A., notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.



The Rights Owner has alleged that the product(s) in your listing infringe upon their valid and enforceable patent .

If you have additional questions in regard to contacting the VeRO Member or if you need additional information on how to contact the VeRO Member, you can chat with one of our policy experts.

You can reach them from 6:00AM to 11:00 PM MST. Get started by clicking
the link below.

(REMOVED)

You may need to take a tutorial. The next time you sell, you may be asked to take the tutorial, if it's required. Once you've completed the tutorial successfully, please review your account status for any other possible concerns. If there are no other issues, you should be able to sell again.

To take the intellectual property tutorial, please visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/tutorial/...ial/intro.html

Please be aware that any additional violations of this policy may result in the suspension of your account. eBay understands that you may be concerned about this situation. We encourage you to contact Verdes Innovation S.A. directly if you have any questions.

You can send an email to: (REMOVED)

For more information on how eBay protects Intellectual Property, or for additional information if you believe that your listing has been removed as a result of an error or misidentification, please visit the following Help page:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/...s-vero-ov.html



For more information on why eBay may remove a listing, please visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/ques...ing-ended.html

Please be assured that your listings have not been targeted in any way. Although there may be similar items currently listed on eBay, we review all listings that are reported to us by eBay members or Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program participants. We rely on reports from our members to help maintain the safety and security of our Community. We encourage you to report any items by using the REPORT THIS ITEM button on the listing so we can quickly remove any other items that should be removed.



Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

eBay Trust & Safety team


H5265



- VIDEO LINK ON THE TOPIC -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyitQFBIi7Q&feature=sub


- SUMMARY -
So, what do you all think? I'm sick of hearing about V-Cube screwing with the cubing community (freezing cubing store's PayPal and eBay acconts) and for a company that has never produced a 3x3, I think that this time they have gone too far. This has personally impacted me, and I can not at this time sell the Ultimate Lubix GuHong. This is the cube that's now in Feliks's hands, the cube that Rowe used for his 6.94 NAR. The cube on the way to Erik Akkersdijk.

To sum it up: You can no longer buy a Maru 4x4 because of V-Cube. And now if V-Cube has it's way... unless you already have a GuHong or LingYun, you CAN NOT go buy one. Great company right?


I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it.

- Pixel -



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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:18 am 
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Pixel 6 wrote:
- SUMMARY -
So, what do you all think? I'm sick of hearing about V-Cube screwing with the cubing community (freezing cubing store's PayPal and eBay acconts) and for a company that has never produced a 3x3, I think that this time they have gone too far. This has personally impacted me, and I can not at this time sell the Ultimate Lubix GuHong. This is the cube that's now in Feliks's hands, the cube that Rowe used for his 6.94 NAR. The cube on the way to Erik Akkersdijk.

To sum it up: You can no longer buy a Maru 4x4 because of V-Cube. And now if V-Cube has it's way... unless you already have a GuHong or LingYun, you CAN NOT go buy one. Great F#*&ing company right?


I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it.

- Pixel -



Hey pixel, This was a bit of an interesting read for me. I dont have much time now, but I will make a longer post at a later date. It seems you are trying to make v-cubes into a big bad company that goes around persecuting people, when in reality, they play the role of the victim. Low speedsolving times are great, but the law takes precedence.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:36 am 
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On the one hand, Verdes should first start selling 3x3x3 cubes, and then going after KO companies ( if I can call GuHong and LingYun KO companies).

On the other hand, It's still his right to do so, and I can fully
understand the steps he take. I really don't think that Verdes is doing it to hurt anyone, as he is just following the rules and protecting his ideas.

Sharon

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:37 am 
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gingervergo wrote:
Hey pixel, This was a bit of an interesting read for me. I dont have much time now, but I will make a longer post at a later date. It seems you are trying to make v-cubes into a big bad company that goes around persecuting people, when in reality, they play the role of the victim. Low speedsolving times are great, but the law takes precedence.



Ok, fair enough. Let me elaborate on why I'm frustrated at this.

They had my business put to a stand still last night, and I spent the better part of 4 hours trying to explain this to my customers who were messaging me in a panic. When they sited that I was selling something that infringed on their rights, they didn't site what patent was being infringed on. I have no answers as to why.

So for several months now, people have been using GuHongs and the world was fine... I haven't heard word 1 of them saying that they were being infringed on. So, I buy thousands of dollars worth of GuHongs that I am no longer allowed to sell... because why exactly? Patent infringement. Some part of a 68 page document, and nobody has sited WHAT is being infringed on.

The thing is, it looks like V-cube is going after all the little people, and with no warning, for apparently doing something wrong. If V-cube says that the 11x11 infringes on their rights, and then sites the documents... I would understand that if I were selling them, that I was doing something wrong.

They simply came in I assume complained / scared eBay into taking action.

I don't know. I'm too exhausted to think about this anymore.

I understand Law is Law. But if you were to get arrested, I'm pretty sure the cop would tell you why.

- Pixel -

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:59 am 
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Video from you.

I really dont see much of similarity.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:12 am 
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Is Verdes just claiming infringement or have they successfully brought a case to court and gotten a judgment in their favor? A claim of infringement is just that, a claim and has no legal backing. Unless they have a judgment they really have no legal ground and should not be stopping these sales.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:56 am 
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I'm all for Verdes enforcing his patents and protecting his products, but I think that shutting down your store without telling you is out of line. If Verdes had shown how the patent was being infringed and given you notice, I think it would have been more acceptable. Although I can't see much similarity between the puzzles, I'm not going to say whether or not the patent is being infringed as I know nothing about intellectual property law. :?

Does anyone know whether the V-Cube 3 is actually even getting produced soon?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:58 am 
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I won't comment much about this. But one thing is for sure.
Whoever is in this business *knew* what was going to come
sooner or later, so it is not nice to pretend to be a victim.

I mean, in the best case, they *knew* those cubes were
a sort of risky item to sell. So please no more hypocrisy and
blaming V-Cubes. It is the *other* way around. V-Cubes
who have brought this technology has been struggling because
of such unethical companies.

The arguments presented were at least comical. The reason
a patent is filed is to do exactly that. End of story.

And I agree, this *should* be a sticky, not for your own
personal profiting reasons, but for the actual legitimate reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:00 am 
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If this is not a joke and Verdes gets money out of sueing other people, we will never see another v-cube.

But I think it's a joke. And I think we won't se another v-cube anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:08 am 
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To make sure this doesn't get out of hand while I sleep and Dave, Sandy and Jin are at work, I am locking this thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:02 pm 
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I would like to understand this issue further before commenting. As this is clearly a sensitive topic I will leave it locked until I can get some more information.

Thanks for your patience,

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:32 am 
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No new information yet, but I did take the time to read the companion thread on speedsolving.com (here). If anyone is unhappy that we have closed this off fairly quickly take a look for yourself and see what we were trying to avoid (note also that after 27+ pages they eventually closed it, for exactly the reasons we hoped to avoid having here).

While I gathered little real information I think there were a few noteworthy observations, particularly Stefan considering some possible claims of infringement (conical cuts).

I think this brings up the important point that people often mistake how a thing looks with what a patent claims. Comparing a corner piece of a 3x3x3 to a corner piece of a 5x5x5 visually doesn't really inform whether or not the patent is being infringed. Reading the text of the claims is necessary (and I still have not taken the time...) to understanding what is covered or not covered, and the pictures aid the text.

I made this same error when I made this comment. Like others, I didn't immediately see a visual resemblance of the mechanisms, but that doesn't mean there is no basis for a claim. At the time I don't think anyone was claiming any infringement, but clearly that has changed.

Obviously this is only days old so we can't expect immediate details but at some point the actual claim will be public record if it is to prevail.

I understand it is quite uncomfortable for sellers to have their items removed without knowing the details. I think one would want to contact PayPal or eBay about this directly to get more information, but keep in mind that they may not have it. It may be in their interests to pull items based on a claim that may not have full information.

Consider PayPal's policy of freezing accounts if there is a claim. This can be a major hassle for those with assets frozen, but for their business reasons they have to stop everything until they have a resolution. This is all covered in their agreement which we all sign to use their service, and I am sure eBay has similar provisions in their agreements regarding eBay sales. I am sure they are quite within their rights to stop those auctions based on the claim. I would guess that waiting until a legal judgment (months or years down the line) would expose them to liability if they assisted in selling items that were deemed illegal.

I know this seems awfully unfair, but from the perspective of someone trying to stop infringement against them, it is equally unfair to have to watch infringers continue to sell while the slow wheels of the courts turn. So while "innocent until proven guilty" is a standard of the US legal system, it doesn't really apply to the eBay seller agreement which reflects their policies to protect their liability.

So I guess we wait to find out more. Again, thanks for patience on this matter, I know we all want to understand what is going on.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:55 pm 
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A few people have taken some time to look over the text of the patent and have given it some considered thought. I don't think anyone is a patent attorney but more informed opinion has merit compared to uninformed opinion (of which there is plenty).

So here is the deal: I am willing to open this thread up (perhaps tomorrow morning) on a *very* limited basis. I'm not a fan of locking things up but we do have to be careful on certain topics and it seems this is one.

I think there is great value to the community (particularly the designers and builders) in having a deeper understanding the Verdes patent. To that end discussion on the matter is relevant and desired. Don't expect we'll get much help from Verdes himself on why this might be an infringement, I am quite sure he has been advised against talking about it while pursuing an infringement.

What will not be tolerated is argument or anything resembling personal attacks. In this context I will go a bit further and say we don't need to step into whether or not one personally thinks the GuHong *should* be an infringement. Ultimately personal opinion on this isn't relevant to the situation: It will or will not be deemed an infringement by the courts. So voicing opinion on this outcome simply invites unproductive argument.

What is welcome is understanding *why* it might be an infringement. Understanding this is valuable, and is unrelated to whether or not you think it *should* be an infringement.

So with that in mind do some homework if you wish to post. Keep in mind that we will be watching closely and will be deleting posts (and issuing warnings, or bans, as necessary) that do not follow these more restrictive rules, or do not offer novel informed value. Here are some good questions to ask before posting:

1.) Has what you are going to post been said before (here or on speedsolving)?
2.) Does your post voice support for either side?
3.) Does your post contain value judgments?

Avoid these things, stick to what the patent may or may not cover and why (emphasis on the why with supporting material).

Stefan has given us a start, summarized as: "Maybe it has to do with conical cuts"

Those of you who have read the patent: When the thread opens up, please share with us what it says about conical cuts and how this may apply.

Thanks,

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:13 pm 
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Open again. Please don't make me regret it :)

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:34 pm 
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I think one thing that would help me understand the patent is a "layman's" explanation of this part:

"The construction is based on the configuration of the internal surfaces of the separate pieces using planar, spherical and mainly right conical surfaces, coaxial to the semi-axis of the coordinates, the number of which is k per semi-axis. The advantage of this construction is that by the use of these k conical surfaces per semi-axis, two solids arise each time; the first has an even (N=2k) number of layers per direction visible to the user, whereas the second has the next odd (N=2k+1) number of visible layers per direction. As a result, by using a unified method and way of construction, for the values of k from 1 to 5, we can produce in total eleven logic toys whose shape is a normal geometric solid, substantially cubic in shape."

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Last edited by jabeck on Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:41 pm 
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Here's a link to the full patent I think on the v-cube website.
http://v-cubes.com/pdf/European_patent.pdf

Pictures of the V3 appear on page 24-25. I haven't read the text to know where it talks about the details.

I'll wait a bit longer before posting my laymen thoughts. Does anyone have any idea how long this will take to get resolved? Just a ballpark number, days, weeks, months?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:51 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
Here's a link to the full patent I think on the v-cube website.
http://v-cubes.com/pdf/European_patent.pdf

Pictures of the V3 appear on page 24-25. I haven't read the text to know where it talks about the details.

I'll wait a bit longer before posting my laymen thoughts. Does anyone have any idea how long this will take to get resolved? Just a ballpark number, days, weeks, months?


Considering the cost of a patent lawsuit is in the MILLIONS of dollars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll#Causes), I suspect a settlement. But who knows of course. If not a settlement, it will probably drag on for months and months.

Edit: (and please don't read anything into the fact that the link is from the patent troll page, I just did a google search and found that page)

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:00 pm 
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When I looked at V-Cube's patent for the 3x3 and the Dayan Guhong internals, I initially thought that Verdes didn't have a case. However, someone on another forum posted pictures of a V-Cube 6 that had been bandaged so as to be a functional 3x3x3. The result looks virtually identical the Dayan Guhong:

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:39 pm 
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Hmm, at first I was in outrage at V-cube but now I can kind of see where they're coming from. Thinking about it more and more, the Guhong does, indeed, look nearly IDENTICAL to only the outer layers of a v-cube. Although I do believe the Guhong was an original design, I can, at least, now see why V-cube would think it was a copy of theirs.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:50 pm 
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A few PMs, deletions and a warning later I am starting to regret this already.

Think very carefully about using the term "looks like". We should all by now know that "looks like" is a standard that hasn't been entirely helpful to understanding this issue. The recent suggestions that bandaging higher order V-Cubes leads to a closer visual resemblance may help some people visualize similarities they didn't initially see, but now that it has been mentioned we don't need to repeat it.

More analysis of the text of the patent, please.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:15 pm 
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Maybe it is also possible that the Dayan 3x3 cube is infringing the "conical structure" of the YJ 5x5 outer layers. If you bandage the YJ 5x5 cube's outer layer rather than inner layer like the bandaged YJ 6x6 above, you can see that there is also the same slanted circular path on the Dayan 3x3 cube.

See this picture:
Image

you could see the inverted-pyramid shape of the center piece, and the conical indent of the surface.


The significance The Verdes 3x3 patent is the winged structure of the edge and centers.
And as a fact, the shape of any puzzle pieces is dependent on the detailed tweaking, therefore you could easily hide Puzzle A's shape to make it look similar to Puzzle B (I am not making any reference here). However, the general concepts of a structure could never be hidden, therefore although Puzzle A greatly resembles (once again, not making any reference) Puzzle B, one could see that there is more like traits on puzzle C.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Inwards wrote:
However, someone on another forum posted pictures of a V-Cube 6 that had been bandaged so as to be a functional 3x3x3. The result looks virtually identical the Dayan Guhong:
Not even close. Sure the corner has a stalk. But the Guhong edges and centers don't have the extra protuberance that the V-Cubes do. Here's a quick sketch to show what I mean on the center piece. The V-Cube edges have a similar feature on their sides that touch the corners.
Attachment:
center.png
center.png [ 1.82 KiB | Viewed 15322 times ]

It semi like the lack of these extra hooks on the Guhong should be a big indicator. Although, a patent does have many parts to it and you don't have to copy it 100% to be a violation I guess.

Regarding the specifics of the corner "stalk"
On the Guhong, the corner cubie is nearly whole and the stalk extends from the cube.
On the V-Cube, the stalk is cut into the corner cubie. From the patent, it looks like a huge trench (with right angles into it).
Attachment:
corner.png
corner.png [ 1.94 KiB | Viewed 15322 times ]


I just took apart my Eastsheen 5 and that corner has a stalk too. It's tiny, but it's still a stalk. The problem must be more subtle than just the stalk shape.

I hope I'm not being bias here. As a note, I own a Guhong, but I don't own a Lingyun. But based on this comparison video, I don't see any major changes that would drastically change any of my previous comments. I guess the Lingyun has a little bit of the corner cut away like the V-Cube, but it's a very shallow cut, not a hard one.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:19 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
But based on this comparison video, I don't see any major changes that would drastically change any of my previous comments. I guess the Lingyun has a little bit of the corner cut away like the V-Cube, but it's a very shallow cut, not a hard one.


Could you also compare it to the outer layer of a YJ 5x5? Just wanna see

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:22 pm 
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daniel0731ex wrote:
Could you also compare it to the outer layer of a YJ 5x5? Just wanna see
I don't have one of those.

I'm nearly positive this can't just be about the stalk shape. It must be something related to "conical cuts" but I don't know how to measure that or anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:29 pm 
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jabeck wrote:
I think one thing that would help me understand the patent is a "layman's" explanation of this part:

"The construction is based on the configuration of the internal surfaces of the separate pieces using planar, spherical and mainly right conical surfaces, coaxial to the semi-axis of the coordinates, the number of which is k per semi-axis. The advantage of this construction is that by the use of these k conical surfaces per semi-axis, two solids arise each time; the first has an even (N=2k) number of layers per direction visible to the user, whereas the second has the next odd (N=2k+1) number of visible layers per direction. As a result, by using a unified method and way of construction, for the values of k from 1 to 5, we can produce in total eleven logic toys whose shape is a normal geometric solid, substantially cubic in shape."

Analyzing Greek writing in English has made this somewhat easy for me, so I'll give this a try.

This basically says that when V-Cubes makes 1 V-cube, it is actually 2 puzzles in one because every other puzzle will have a hidden layer within itself (3x3x3 within 2x2x2, 7x7x7 within 6x6x6 ect...) therefor, when they produce a 9x9x9 they will already have the ground work laid out to produce the 8x8x8. Semi-axis refers to the fact that each axis has two turning faces (look at a 2x2x2 and you'll understand). Using their equation which is actually really simple, plugging in k=1, you'll get a 2x2x2 and 3x3x3, plugging in k=2 you'll get 4x4x4 and 5x5x5, plugging in k=3 you'll get 6x6x6 and 7x7x7 and so on.

Reading on, the patent gives a reason to why the 7x7x7 and up has to be pillowed. Using their simplified inequality, N<6.82 where N is the order of the cube (N=3 , means a 3x3x3) once N>6.82, the cube can no longer stay perfectly cubic and must be pillowed, due to this the V-6 may be both pillowed and cubic because the hidden layer has a value of 7.

I am trying to be impartial here and only analyze the text.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:30 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
I'm nearly positive this can't just be about the stalk shape. It must be something related to "conical cuts" but I don't know how to measure that or anything.


Ok, well I think it might be that the conical structure could be closely realated to the stalked corners.

And you don't need to have a YJ 5x5 though, any YJ big cubes or knockoff of YJs might also have the conical cut in the outer layer.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:44 pm 
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From the V-Cube patent:
United States Patent Application 20070057455 wrote:
[...] We claim that the advantages of the configuration of the internal surfaces of every smaller piece mainly by conical surfaces instead of cylindrical, which are secondarily used only in few cases, in combination with the necessary planar and spherical surfaces, are the following:
[...]
- The connection of the corner separate pieces of each cube with the solid interior, which is the most important problem to the construction of three-dimensional logic toys of that kind and of that shape, is ensured, so that these pieces are completely protected from dismantling. [...]


I think this claim is where the problem lies. The Dayan Guhong uses part of the patent (conical surfaces rather than cylindrical ones - the corner stalk is formed by intersecting cones) to achieve one of the claims (corner pieces are held securely in place). So from a legal point of view, the Dayan Guhong probably infringes the patent.

However, it is important to realize this: in order to ensure a patent remains active, it must be enforced. The logic behind this is that if I'm making KO V5's, then Verdes must sue me immediately. He can't wait 10 years and then claim huge damages. If he waits too long, his patent may become invalid.
V-Cubes probably has no interest in the 3x3x3 market so they probaby couldn't care less whether this Dayan Guhong is sold or not. However, if any company ever did undercut their sales by infringing on their patent, they could claim the patent isn't valid because V-Cubes didn't take action for the Dayan.
Having their patent invalidated would obviously be a huge loss to Verdes so they're taking no chances.

Some people have said "why are these things being taken down even before a lawsuit - that's not fair". Well, it works something like this:
1) Verdes sends a cease and desist letter to infringing product seller/maker saying "this infringes our patent, please stop".
2) Now the company can either say "Okay, we'll stop" or "Shut up, we're not infringing. Sue us if you want."

Obviously, ebay/paypal has taken these decisions on behalf of the sellers since they don't want to get in this kind of trouble (this probably is in their terms of service so it's entirely legal).
In any case, it's not like Verdes is abusing some supernatural power to have things taken down without a lawsuit. It's up to the sellers if they want a lawsuit or not. They are free to sue Verdes for filing fraudulent complaints to ebay but they probably can't afford to. And unfortunately, in this world, sometimes money (=power) wins from justice. Actually, it happens all the time.

So in short: Yes, there is probably an infringement. No, Verdes isn't the mean man trying to destroy speedcubing, he's just trying to protect his IP investments. Which unfortunately, means having to kill off a very nice cube.
Plus, speedcubing is 99% skill and 1% cube (if the cube is at least somewhat decent).

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:48 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
Which unfortunately, means having to kill off a very nice cube.
Remember that settlements are a common outcome in patent infringement cases. So Verdes prevailing with his claim does not necessarily mean the death of the GuHong. It could mean a licensing deal is struck.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Yes, that's something which I forgot to mention. Indeed, a (symbolic) licensing fee would be the best solution for all.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:29 pm 
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Very interesting Tom, but there is at least one thing you say I strongly disagree with:

"Plus, speedcubing is 99% skill and 1% cube (if the cube is at least somewhat decent)."

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:07 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
However, it is important to realize this: in order to ensure a patent remains active, it must be enforced. The logic behind this is that if I'm making KO V5's, then Verdes must sue me immediately. He can't wait 10 years and then claim huge damages. If he waits too long, his patent may become invalid.
V-Cubes probably has no interest in the 3x3x3 market so they probaby couldn't care less whether this Dayan Guhong is sold or not. However, if any company ever did undercut their sales by infringing on their patent, they could claim the patent isn't valid because V-Cubes didn't take action for the Dayan.
Having their patent invalidated would obviously be a huge loss to Verdes so they're taking no chances.


I'm not sure if things are different with international patents, but this is definitely not the case for US and North American patents (of which I hold two myself). In fact, in there is a whole market designed to exploit this fact using 'submarine patents'. The only thing that can invalidate an existing patent is evidence of prior art.

What you are describing is true for trademarks, however.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:26 pm 
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I wrote to a blogger who writes about IP, and he put up a post about it here.

It isn't clear whether (a) the relevant part of the patent in question is valid or (b) whether these cubes are actually violating it. There are basic questions of obviousness and prior art. It's most definitely the case that spherical arcs and conical cuts were being discussed on this forum before the Verdes cubes came out, and that might very well serve to invalidate that part of that patent.

I'm almost certain that EBay has not done proper diligence here, and is simply taking down merchandise based on a mere allegation. EBay incurs no liability from someone else selling merchandise in violation of patent on their service, and I find it alarming that EBay is willing to incur such arbitrary whims. As much as you might like Verdes, consider how you'd feel about this if it were being done by a patent troll.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:16 am 
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I'll repost part of a PM I sent Dave regarding this issue after the topic was closed.

----------------------

Quote:
I've taken the time to read up on the Patent and it seems that the puzzles do actually infringe on it. I'm no expert in patent law, but I believe the specific part that it infringes on is the use of conical surfaces to connect the inner sphere mechanism to the visible parts. From what I can gather, the fact that the puzzle lacks the extra flange that the V-Mech has does not exclude it from the patent. The Patent only deals with the use of a combination of spherical and conical surfaces.

You can see clearly from this picture that the Dayan Guhong cube definitely uses a combination of spherical and conical surfaces:

Image

It's a bit hard to make out through the use of very large fillets, but having designed several variations of the V-Mech myself, I'm pretty sure that there are conical surfaces there. I'd be happy to make a CAD file that compares both the V-Mech and this one to show the correlations and possible infringements.


I did end up making a file comparing the two mechanisms. I'll attach the 3d .pdf to this post. You can right click on the parts to isolate them (there are no fillets so it will look like a big block at first)


Attachments:
File comment: Guhong vs V-Mech
guhong vs vmech.PDF [578.27 KiB]
Downloaded 314 times

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:24 am 
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Is it possible to mark several pieces and isolate them together? I tried ctrl-click etc, but nothing worked. The GuHong's sphere diameters are all too large, btw, and the corner stalk is much thinner and not conical.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:52 am 
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I'm curious exactly what a "conical cut", or a "right conical cut" is in the first place. The way I understand it, it would be a profile cut has a slanted line (i.e. think of the praxis cube). Not necessarily one that leaves a cone shaped piece. In other words, the cube is cut at least partially by a cone shape. This would be the part of the v-cube profile that has diagonal lines going toward the center - in other words, the part of the cut that makes the corner stalk?

I could be wrong about this though? The images in the patent do show a conical shaped corner stalk (I think). Maybe it's just me, but a lot of puzzle patents I see seem vague, and this is on purpose maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:13 pm 
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Language in patents is complex for multiple purposes.

One aspect is that language is horribly imprecise, and patents, needing to be interpreted, are strengthened by their precision. So the language used by patents is specially crafted to use terms that have established meanings in patent law. This can be a bit maddening. When you read about some object with "a plurality of parts" you might think they would just say "many parts" and this is the sort of special language you have to get used to reading and parsing. I honestly don't know why "a plurality" is better than "many", but I am sure there is some reason perhaps related to case history or subtle dictionary definitions.

Another aspect of patents is the business side of attempting to be as broad as possible while still being accepted. Too broad and you might not be granted the patent. Too narrow and it is too easy to get around and therefore worthless. So the language often is a bit vague to broaden the scope. In this case you won't find the Verdes paten describing the precise dimensions of any parts because that would be trivial to get around with slight modification. Instead it focuses on what makes it distinct from previous mechanisms. The conical cuts is one of the distinctions of course. The winged centers is another although I still haven't read the patent (too much time moderating posts on this thread...) so I don't know if that is a claim.

In some senses the Verdes patent is broad and in others it is narrow. It is broad in that it makes claim of this mechanism on a range of puzzles 2x2x2 - 11x11x11. But it is limited in that it stops there, and makes no claim on non-cubic puzzles where clearly it can be equally applied.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:50 pm 
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In continuing from TomZ's post, I am curious to know whether Verdes* either already has taken legal action, or has immediate plans to take legal action, over this issue.

If legal action has already been taken, or there are definite plans for legal action, then that is a path to resolving this. If a court finds the cubes not to be infringing, then that's that. If a court finds the cubes to be infringing, then stoppage of sales, restitution and such are all reasonable. The current action by Verdes could be seen as a, perhaps somewhat premature, reasonable temporary measure while legal action proceeds.

If legal action hasn't been taken, or there are no immediate plans to take legal action, then it would appear that Verdes is using PayPal as an intermediary in attacking sellers without any need to take responsibility for the validity of their claims. The question of PayPal/Ebay acting as a patent dispute mediator has already been brought up. There is also the question of the responsibility of Verdes to justify their claims. If there are no plans for legal action, PayPal claims by Verdes will not be resolved, sellers are left with no option.

Does anyone know the status of legal action by Verdes?

* Verdes here referring to the corporation, not any individual.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:23 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
I honestly don't know why "a plurality" is better than "many"

"plurality: an amount or group (as of votes) that is greater than any other amount or group within a total but that is not more than half"
-- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law
-- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ ... Dictionary

Way more precise than "many". Though I don't see how at least this definition fits in the V-cube patent.

DLitwin wrote:
In this case you won't find the Verdes paten describing the precise dimensions of any parts because that would be trivial to get around with slight modification.

If that's in response to my post: I know, it was just a suggestion for Garrett to make his visualization more realistic. Regarding the sizes, that is. The corner stalk not being conical is something different, as the patent does claim a conical stalk.


Last edited by Stefan Pochmann on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:38 pm 
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if someone has patented a "conical cuts", then we will lose many puzzles ...
all Crazy Cubes, Rex Cube, Gear Cube, Floppy and Scramble Cube.
many Oskar and Tomz puzzle...

ps
correct me if I'm wrong

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:42 pm 
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Remember V-CUBEs only produce normal cubes, so puzzles like the Void and Floppy Cube won't go out, for the same reason why the Teraminx and Gigaminx haven't. The mass produced Gear Cube does use V-MECH, but it's nothing like a V-CUBE/Rubik's Cube in the way it functions. They'll only stop puzzles which are 2x2x2s - 11x11x11s. To be honest I'm curious why there isn't much news about V-CUBEs' battle against the KO 9x9x9 and 11x11x11, unless there isn't even a battle at all. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:49 pm 
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That's also the impression I get from the patent - That it is a combination of conical spherical cuts, etc... for the purpose of building higher order cubes with stable corners. In other words, not just the cut itself, but the purpose behind it for cube shaped puzzles.

But I'm no lawyer... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:57 pm 
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SEBUVER wrote:
They'll only stop puzzles which are 2x2x2s - 11x11x11s.

Ok, than what about Rubik's products and EastSheen cubes?
Both has conical cutes, and meets your requirement (2x2x2-11x11x11)... :?

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:08 pm 
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SEBUVER wrote:
Remember V-CUBEs only produce normal cubes

It's not about what they produce, it's about what their patent claims. It clearly just claims NxNxN cubes (and N=2 to 11).

Olivér Nagy wrote:
Both has conical cutes

Where?


Last edited by Stefan Pochmann on Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Olivér Nagy wrote:
what about Rubik's products and EastSheen cubes?
Both has conical cutes, and meets your requirement (2x2x2-11x11x11)... :?
The cuts on Rubik's Cube (like my Qubami) are all cylindrical, not conical, I don't know about EastSheen.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Oliver, for starters Eastsheen and Rubik's were both made before V-CUBEs were, and so it's very hard to say that their products are an infringement on the V-CUBE patent. :lol:

Also, the shape of the pieces are different. Rubik's use a 3x3x3 mechanism with pieces stuck in between the layers to create their 5x5x5. Eastsheen's wing and center pieces go deepers than the edges and corners, where as with the V-MECH it's vice versa. You can't say that they're infringing when the mechs are extremely different.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:52 pm 
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SEBUVER wrote:
To be honest I'm curious why there isn't much news about V-CUBEs' battle against the KO 9x9x9 and 11x11x11, unless there isn't even a battle at all. :?
I believe work has been done to have these cubes removed from trade shows and eBay in the past, and may well be happening currently. One can imagine this to be a never ending task the way eBay is structured. I don't think any sellers of those products frequent our forum to tell us.

As to why pursue one and not the other:

Even if we assume the higher order cubes are not being pursued (and I don't think we know) it would be logical to pursue an infringement claim against a target that had the best potential to be recuperate the costs of pursuing it. The market for the higher level cubes is tiny compared to that of the smaller cubes, so I could imagine the risk (in terms of a judgement paying back the costs of litigation) is higher.
Also, if Verdes wants to make a statement protecting his patent, the smaller cubes will make more of a statement and get more attention from the infringers given it will hurt them more.

I can't say that any of these are the reasons for the current action, but they are worth considering as potential explanations.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:54 am 
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Bram wrote:
It's most definitely the case that [...] conical cuts were being discussed on this forum before the Verdes cubes came out

Can you show us where?


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Stefan Pochmann wrote:
Can you show us where?


A quick search through the forum brings us this topic:

http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2746&hilit=conical

This is the first topic on twistypuzzles to use the word "conical" anywhere in it. I also cross checked using "cone" and "cone-shaped." This is the first topic.

V-Cubes is indeed, the first person to bring conical cuts to the forum. Which I assume means their patent claim is founded?

Edit: I think it's pretty obvious at this point that the GuHong has infringed Verdes patent, whether it was unintentional or not.

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Last edited by EMarx on Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:12 pm 
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No comment on whether the cubes infringe the patent or not but there was an interesting court case in the UK a few years back where a rights holder blocked auctions on Ebay. Some details here :

http://www.managingip.com/Article/1254148/The-threats-risk-in-eBays-VeRO-programme.html

Clearly some different circumstances but by blocking auctions through the VERO programme V-Cube are demonstrating they are prepared to litigate to protect their patent or prepared to take the risk that the seller's of these cubes will litigate against them if they believe the patent has not been infringed.


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 Post subject: Re: Dayan Guhong vs. V-Cube Patent Infringement
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:05 am 
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I find it sad to hear that the new Dayan reverse corner-cutting speedcubes are being targeted by Verdes like this. As has been previously stated, the edges and the centers do not even have the flanges that the Verdes patent inexplicably illustrates.

Please do not flame me for what I am about to say now, but the mass-produced Gear Cubes and Anisotropic Cubes designed by Oskar clearly contain the offending flanges. While I respect Oskar entirely and believe him to be a puzzle designing genius, and would never want to do or say anything to discredit him, I have noticed far more resemblance to the Verdes design in the Gear Cube mechanism than I ever did in the Dayan 3x3x3.

V-Cube 6 (3x3x3 mod):
Image

Oskar's Anisotropic Cube:
Image

It has concerned me ever since I dismantled my Gear cube to apply the Anisotropic mod, I noticed an immediate resemblance to the Verdes' mechanism. Yet when I look at the photos of the new Dayan 3x3x3s, I just don't see it. Please don't flame me, that is my observation.

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