News‎ > ‎

Protei and Intellectual Property

posted May 7, 2011, 8:49 AM by Cesar Harada

Hello dear all. 
As we are moving forward and making exciting discoveries, it is absolutely crucial we protect the future of the technology we are working on. 
I have witnessed a few years back, a famous old scientist in Cambridge (UK) inventing a new family of microscope, and suddenly a bigger company patented his invention! The old scientist instruments were confiscated and he was no longer allowed to develop the technology he started. How sad!  

I personally think Protei has a great future and multiple applications, and my goal is to maximize the environmental and social impact with this technology. We might not make any profit in the early stages of this, but on the long term, we may. I started developing the technology as a personal project when I arrived in New Orleans to clean up the BP oil spill, back in July 2011 after resigning from MIT in Boston. Working under the Open_Sailing flagship, supported by Suzette Toledano and the non-profit organization the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, all met through the TED network of which I am a fellow. After I built the 3 first prototypes and tested them in the Pontchartrain Lake, I knew the technology was promising and I decided to completely open the project under the brand new Open Hardware license 1.0, also because I just attended the Open Hardware Summit in New York. I was soon joined by Sey Min (with whom we came up with the name "Protei") of randomwalks in Korea. Right after, the architecture agency Amorphica (USA, Mexico) also joined us. A few days after V2_ the Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam (NL) joined and decided to produce us. Than it was Etienne Gernez of DNV in Oslo. More recently we have members from the Goldsmiths University in London, The University of Southern Denmark, the Universidad Austral de Chile, TU Delft, Stanford, MIT and a few more started collaborating informally with us.

Protei is really taking over now and it is really exciting.
We are going to be presenting Protei this summer in Rotterdam at the World Port Day where we expect 400'000 visitors, side by side with huge shipping and off-shore industries.
We must be ready and clear about the Intellectual property of Protei. 

Currently the Intellectual Property status of Protei in Open Hardware, as you can see on the left sidebar. But is there anything more secure that provides us the following security?

- Everyone can use, modify and distribute (manufacture and sell) Protei for free. 
- Anyone making improvements on Protei needs to inform us of their improvements by contributing to our knowledge community. 
- Anyone building their technology on top of Protei technology need to credit the name "Protei".

The objective is not to sell many units right now with a maximum margin, but to create a robust community around a great platform. 
Open Source, allows us to work with Universities, individuals, companies, governments - everybody. But what license ?
If the technology is Open Source, shall our name and logo be a trademark to refer to?

I have sent a few emails out to specialist / friends, allow me to re-blog fragments of your answers. Please comment :)