Patently obvious


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    I learn, quite recently, that publishing an idea on the Web, as here, places it in the Public Domain and prevents anyone else taking out a patent on it. I do not seek to protect, nor to make money from my ideas and inventions, but I would be seriously sick if someone else took out a patent, thus preventing me from making my own creations.

    In all, I am opposed to the idea of patents and intellectual property, for they have not advanced humanity as a whole, on the contrary.

    I have a particular 'Mole grip' (Vise grip) pliers, made by Lever Tools in Nebraska in the early seventies. The handle is studded with patent numbers. As anyone who has used a conventional grips will know, a screw in the tail allows for the adjustment of size and then, finely, pressure. This requires two-handed operation, and adjustment between different sizes.

    The improved grips have a single screw, exclusively for adjusting the pressure; size is automatic. Only the jaws are drop-forged, the rest of the tool being in stout steel sheet. When the jaws are closed a pair of wedges inside the box-section handle start to ride up each other as soon as resistance is met. The jaws then close with the clamping-pressure set by the screw. This means that one may seize an egg without breaking it, or fold a penny in half, according to the pressure set.

    As far as I understand, the patent was bought by a company who make the clearly inferior type of grips, and then conveniently forgotten in a filing-cabinet somewhere....

    The bizarre watch and clock escapements, visible in the Horology section of this site, were mostly invented not because they were improvements, but because better ideas had already been patented by others.

    Publication was a long and costly process, but with the Internet it is easy and free. All the ideas and designs on this site are in the Public Domain, and anyone may use and produce them, but not claim exclusivity.

    I came to this world naked and alone, and will leave it (no hurry there) in the same state, so everything has been a gift. And you don't sell gifts, do you?
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