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yuri_base

Reverse engineering of gear, making a new copy of old equipment?

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Legality aside, because clouds and the FAA, lol (at least in the US). I also doubt much of anything WS related is patented. But let's just ignore it.

You're making a lot of false assumptions.

1- Almost no sponsor is paid, and almost none get free gear, they usually get demo gear or dealer pricing on gear (I know several sponsored folks, dealer pricing is pretty standard). Also on the return dealers are getting, I wouldn't be surprised if R&D, setup, quality control, etc all ignored, a $2,000 WS from say SQ doesn't cost them close to $1,000 (or more) to build.

2- Some shop in Vietnam is willing to take on a complex project to sell a handful of units, with only one guaranteed. You won't find one willing to do that. They make money, they don't take on tinker projects with almost no quantity and poor return.

3- I know someone who has tried to reverse engineer a WS just for fun as a tinker project. It is a royal PITA. If you value your own time at $10 an hour, not worth it. Basic construction is easy, but these aren't old 9-cells where every cell is the same. Almost every surface has unique curves.

4- Which brings me to my next point, even if a manufacturer sent you all the cut pieces with instructions, it would be a royal PITA to put it together, even for a rigger. Material stretches under the needle, sewing is an art, and knowing what you're sewing and how it will react is a very big deal. Even with match marks, unless you've done it a lot, by the time you get to the end of the seam, they won't line up anymore (curves are the worst; and WS have abundant curves, like almost every seam would be a continuous curve).

At best you'd end up with a shitty copy, and you'd have put more money and effort into it than it is worth.

Also, wtf are you doing to your WS? I've put hundreds of jumps on PF, SQ, and Tonys, with minimal wear and only ever sent one in to get a tiny patch (old S-Bird). I've even seen all the coating peel off the inside of suits after 1,000+ jumps before blowing any seams. I would estimate the useful life of a modern WS at 1,000 jumps easily. And if you're making 1,000 jumps a year and burning $20k+ on jump tickets, yeah ok you might have to shell out 2k on a WS every year too. But if you jump that much, get sponsored and get that dealer pricing and shell out $1.4k...

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RiggerLee

It depends on the complexity of the project...
...Look at Quag and his canopy project...
... I'm surprised their are not more home grown builders popping up in some of these countries...

Lee



I think Quarmarian and his 'Little Project' are a good example of why we aren't seeing more of this.
I really admire his persistence, skill set and effort.

But he's been at this for a long, long, long time.

One of the things that his thread has clearly demonstrated is that making a canopy is not a 'weekend project.'

As a slight sidenote to how complex wingsuits can be, I have seen a wingsuit that was made by Chris from Freefall Suits (remember that debacle?).
While the seams & stitching were done well, the suit wasn't. The left & right side weren't even. The suit wasn't even close to symmetrical.
I don't think the purchaser ever tried to fly it. I don't think it would have worked well.
A friend ended up (finally) getting the suit he ordered. While it appeared to be ok, there was a significant built in turn in freefall. Something was/is off.

There's a lot more to building suits, wingsuits and canopies than just cutting out fabric and sewing it together.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Hi yuri,

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Reverse engineering of gear



I built my first jumpsuit by taking apart my old, worn out Pioneer jumpsuit & using it for a pattern. I then went on to make a handful or so of jumpsuits for other people.

I even wrote an article for PARACHUTIST about it; 'Doing it Yourself.'

I have also talked to numerous patent attorneys over the years. It is my understanding, for something that has had some protection associated with it ( patent/copyright/etc ), you can make the item for yourself; and many of them, but only for yourself and not for sale to others.

I have no idea if your existing jumpsuit has any protection.

I am an inveterate DIY'er; so, I say 'Go for it.' Even it it never works, costs too much, etc; you will learn a lot.

Best of luck,

Jerry Baumchen

PS) Based upon a discussion that I had earlier this year with an employee of the US Patent Office, it seems as though the patent on the Collins Lanyard runs out next month. Just some trivia for those who might like to know.

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The term "Reverse Engineering" is wordsmithing to cover what it really is: Stealing.

If one's intellect and design skills are so poor that they can't make a product of their own...well, I guess they just steal from the guy who did. And to make stolen copies and sell them?...shame on you.

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As far as i know you can copy any piece of gear you like. It doesn't matter if you own it. The exception would be anything covered by a patent. Like say, a Skyhook. Even then you can probably copy it as long as you are not selling it.

Almost all skydiving gear is a copy of an earlier idea. Go for it. And good luck. But the time you learn how to copy anything worth copying you will have spent enough time and money to buy at least ten of them.

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Freefall Suits



I saw some of the evolution of those designs. First there were really cheap Pakistani (?) made RW jumpsuits, then more sophisticated jumpsuits, freefly jumpsuits, wingsuits. Prices seemed to climb rapidly.

Sometimes it seems simple to say, "Hey, I can get something built way cheaper than the stuff on the market at outrageous prices!" Maybe that works for some simple suit that isn't expected to be super durable, but as the design sophistication and build quality goes up, someone may start to find they have to start charging similar to all the other companies to cover all the development time & cost, time to keep customers satisfied, and other overhead.

(It was one of those cases where an admirable effort was made to start a small company and provide some gear for people, but got bogged down as the company tried to grow, and ended up failing & pissing off people who didn't get what they had ordered or got something that didn't fit etc.)

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gowlerk

As far as i know you can copy any piece of gear you like. It doesn't matter if you own it. The exception would be anything covered by a patent. Like say, a Skyhook. Even then you can probably copy it as long as you are not selling it....



Actually, if it contains an element covered by a patent, you can't even make one for yourself.

If it is not covered by a patent, as long as you didn't break the law getting the information to replicate it (like, say, stealing the instructions on how to make them from the WS mfg), than it is lawful. But I agree with what others have said: you probably won't find it worthwhile doing it.

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dpreguy

The term "Reverse Engineering" is wordsmithing to cover what it really is: Stealing.

If one's intellect and design skills are so poor that they can't make a product of their own...well, I guess they just steal from the guy who did. And to make stolen copies and sell them?...shame on you.



I guess "Reverse Engineering" was a poor choice of words. I meant to say, disassemble and make a replica for your own use. Reverse engineering usually means making a new product based on someone else's design and selling it en masse. That is, indeed, stealing someone's hard work.

You bought a book. The book is old now and falling apart. You want to continue reading it, you make a xerox copy and bind the pages. For your own use. That's not stealing. 100% legal and 100% ethic. (I don't think any author would or can object to what you're doing with what you paid for, in your privacy, as long as you don't distribute it.)

And no, I'm not neither planning on starting such a business nor making this replica myself. I was wondering if there is and why there isn't such a business already, of which I'd be one happy customer.
Android+Wear/iOS/Windows apps:
L/D Vario, Smart Altimeter, Rockdrop Pro, Wingsuit FAP
iOS only: L/D Magic
Windows only: WS Studio

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In no shape or form am I one of those people who are capable of recreating any skydiving equipment but it is to my understanding that you have to realize that it is not only your life in the sky but the ones around you. I think you should just leave it to the professionals. After all you don’t want to be that kid in the school yard with one pant leg higher than the other one.

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yuri_base


You bought a book. The book is old now and falling apart. You want to continue reading it, you make a xerox copy and bind the pages. For your own use. That's not stealing. 100% legal and 100% ethic. (I don't think any author would or can object to what you're doing with what you paid for, in your privacy, as long as you don't distribute it.)

And no, I'm not neither planning on starting such a business nor making this replica myself. I was wondering if there is and why there isn't such a business already, of which I'd be one happy customer.



Well, in the first case, if you use your own copy machine and do all the work yourself, then yes, it's likely legal. Or at least low profile enough not to matter.
However, that's pretty similar to burning your own CDs or DVDs. And if you cross an international border with 'homemade' copies of copyrighted material, customs can and will seize it.

In the second case, it would be a business, who would be making money copying and selling other people's designs.
Flat out piracy & counterfeiting.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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........ Lone Star could live again. .........
Lee
——————————————————————————-

Lone Star’s business model was based upon a giant silk screen printer. Unfortunately, the giant silk screen printer was not reliable, so both my Para-Kits were marked by hand.

Fast forward 30 years and small CNC cutting tables are available down to even garage-sized models. Many can be fitted with lasers or hot-knives. Many “makers” are bright enough to fabricate their own vacuum tables.
Down-load some cut files from the inter web and you can start cutting.
For example: Chesepeake Light Craft are the industry leader in small boat kits: canoes, kayaks, sail boats, teardrop trailers, etc. CLC would love to reduce shipping costs by moving to the next stage of selling cut files over the inter web. Then hobbists could take cutting files to a local CNC cutting shop.
The problem is that CNC cutting files are too easy to copy and the original designer earns nothing for the year or two it took him to perfect the basic boat. CLC also fears than some pirate will sell sloppy copies of a CLC design and CLC will get sued after someone drowns when their 4th generation sloppy copy sinks. Even if courts eventually decide that CLC is innocent, they still sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into lawyers’ pockets.

Finally, we need to consider the cost of materials. Buying fabrics, tapes, suspension ones, etc. in small quantities means paying retail. The retail cost of fabric roughly equals the retail cost of finished, certified canopies.

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Attached is the fabled USAPR FrankenVoodoo in the later stages of repair. Students replaced the main lift web, reserve risers, front and rear leg straps including pads, both side flaps and both MLW cover/handle pockets. Students also overlaid the reserve side flaps and made reserve and cutaway cable assemblies and housings. It still has the original TSO label and is legally jumpable according to the manufacturer.

Students used factory patterns to make the new main container side flaps/riser covers, as well as the handle pockets and leg pads. The harness replacements pieces were reverse engineered from other examples. Some riggers will notice the leg straps are conventional 2-piece (like Talon-2), instead of the "V-Flex" that was standard for Voodoo containers.

When the container was substantially complete, we tried moving on to making a canopy. The container was sized for a 107, and we happened to have a Sabre-1 107 handy to copy. We carefully disassembled a rib, upper surface, and lower surface to make patterns. Three different master rigger candidates make three different pattern sets. They were all good students and were careful about laying out the fabric pieces and taking careful measurements. And yet, they all produced different patterns. Short of actually counting out the ripstop boxes, we concluded that we could not produce a reliable replica.

We've moved on to other projects. YMMV.

--Mark

FrankenVoodoo.jpg

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Divalent

Actually, if it contains an element covered by a patent, you can't even make one for yourself.



I don't think that is the case. Patents must completely disclose the info to work the invention so that other people CAN copy it. the purpose then being other people do copy it, research and develop it further and then progress things to develop the next step, for which they can then apply for a patent, and repeat.

As long as you are not selling it, making any financial gain from it, or harming the patent holder's finances, sales etc from it, you can copy a patented invention for your own use/research.

I'm not a patent attorney to know the exact details of the law, but I am a UK patent examiner, so have a reasonable understanding of it.
Sky Switches - Affordable stills camera tongue switches and conversion adaptors, supporting various brands of camera (Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic).

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Quote

Patents must completely disclose the info to work the invention so that other people CAN copy it.


Not in the US. In fact, in general patents are written to be as general as possible, with none of the detail that would allow you to copy a product using the concept embodied in the patent. That's on purpose.
Quote

the purpose then being other people do copy it, research and develop it further and then progress things to develop the next step, for which they can then apply for a patent, and repeat.


Well, the purpose of a patent here is to allow the inventor to control his invention for a short time, specifically to monetize it (i.e. make money on it.) Specifically the purpose is "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." But yes, patents do get copied, and a patent is indeed a record of the basic concept that can be used for that purpose. (Which is why patents are becoming a problem nowadays, because it's essentially an invitation for a country without patent protection to try to duplicate it.)
Quote

As long as you are not selling it, making any financial gain from it, or harming the patent holder's finances, sales etc from it, you can copy a patented invention for your own use/research.


It is illegal to use a patent in that way in the US. However, you can almost always get away with it, because the license holder isn't going to care if you build something small for your own personal use, because they aren't going to lose any money over it. That may be changing with the advent of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, because now if you post a 3d printer file to build a widget, and a million people download it, the license holder CAN lose money from lost unfulfilled demand - and a court would likely agree.

Also, in the US at least, a patent is effectively just the right to sue. No police force monitors the use of technology, so the license holder has to notice you using their IP before it even becomes an issue.

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Hi Bill,

Quote

It is illegal to use a patent in that way in the US.



This reply is based upon my numerous discussions with numerous patent attorneys over numerous years.

It is my understanding that you can make them & give them away for free without violating the patent. Should one want to do this.

Jerry Baumchen

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>It is my understanding that you can make them & give them away for free without
>violating the patent.

Legally, no. Practically, yes.

===========
35 U.S. Code § 271 - Infringement of patent
US Code

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.

(b) Whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.
===========

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billvon


Not in the US. In fact, in general patents are written to be as general as possible, with none of the detail that would allow you to copy a product using the concept embodied in the patent. That's on purpose.



That's interesting. In the UK, a patent will not be granted for an application if the application doesn't contain an enabling disclosure - i.e. enough info and detail that someone skilled in that field can replicate the invention.

If an application falls foul of that, then they get a "Sufficiency" objection which is pretty much fatal to the application.

As for the purpose, I did fail to mention the purpose from the applicant's side, which is of course as you stated - to allow them the monopoly on their invention to commercially exploit it as they see fit, and control who can licence, make and use the invention on a commercial basis. The disclosure of the invention to the public is the (non-financial) cost of being granted this monopoly!

I'm sure there are many other differences between UK and US patent law that I'm not aware of too!
Sky Switches - Affordable stills camera tongue switches and conversion adaptors, supporting various brands of camera (Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic).

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......... That may be changing with the advent of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, because now if you post a 3d printer file to build a widget, and a million people download it, the license holder CAN lose money from lost unfulfilled demand ..... .
——————————————————————————

In theory yes, but probably not in practice.
The more likely outcome is a bunch of sloppy copies that perform poorly and deteriorate the reputation of the copier/forger.
Sandy Reid advised me “If you don’t understand something, copy it exactly.”
The problem is understanding all the critical dimensions, materials, manufacturing processes, etc. without access to factory patterns or the original design concepts. Sandy only shares design concepts when they help marketing.

There are a lot of tolerances, critical dimensions, assembly procedures and patterns never shared outside the (patent-holder’s) factory.
For example, I routinely repaired Talons - with factory patterns - while working at Rigging Innovations. Since they moved the factory out from underneath me, I have never seen another RI pattern. The best I have been able to obtain is bound, grommetex, etc. replacement flaps from the factory.

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RiggerLee

I doubt there is even a copy right much less a patent. Have any of them actually filed any thing?

Lee



I don't know, but considering some of the uses for wingsuits I'd say stitching on them would be at least as important as on main canopies. That's why I was asking.

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billvon

Quote

Patents must completely disclose the info to work the invention so that other people CAN copy it.


Not in the US. In fact, in general patents are written to be as general as possible, with none of the detail that would allow you to copy a product using the concept embodied in the patent. That's on purpose._


This is false. In fact, if you can prove that a patent is insufficient for someone "skill in the art" to replicate the invention, you can have the patent invalidated. The whole theory behind patents is that the inventor discloses to the world how to practice the invention, and in return the government gives the inventor an exclusive right for a limited period of time. If the patent doesn't disclose the invention, then they don't get the exclusive rights to it.

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>In fact, if you can prove that a patent is insufficient for someone "skill in the art" to
>replicate the invention, you can have the patent invalidated.

Yes, that's the theory. In practice, companies put as little detail as possible in the patent. They do this because if they DID put enough detail in it to easily reproduce the invention, China would be building them within a few weeks.

And yes, you might be able to have it invalidated if you challenged it. It would, however, be a long court case, with one panel of "skilled in the art" folks claiming they could not have duplicated it, and another panel of "skilled in the art" folks claiming they COULD duplicate it. The folks that claim they could duplicate it, of course, often base their learnings on a reverse-engineered product rather than the patent itself, so the defense will claim that's how they got their knowledge.

11 months and 7 million dollars later, you might indeed be able to invalidate the patent. Most people don't have 7 million dollars and 11 months, which is why such patents are often as general as possible.

That's one of the reasons that patenting things is beginning to not be the primary way to protect IP. Indeed, if it's something that's a combination of microcode and ASIC design (i.e. very hard to reverse engineer) often companies don't even bother any more. They rely on the difficulty of the reverse engineering process to protect them - by the time the competition reverse engineers the product, they are on to their next generation.

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