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Author Topic: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line  (Read 103816 times)

Steve M Smith

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #200 on: April 27, 2015, 06:16:39 am »

All a patent does is give you the right to sue
And it lets your competitors know what you are planning.


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Mike Sokol

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #201 on: April 27, 2015, 09:38:21 am »

And it lets your competitors know what you are planning.

I remember when I worked for Corning Glass many moons ago that the patent on Corelle glass was getting ready to expire, and Anchor Hocking (a big competitor) was posed to market something similar. AH had built a new factory and had the glass making process up and running a year in advance, so on the very day the Corning held patent expired, Anchor Hocking had magazine ads out promoting their own version, and they were shipping product.   

That's why there are so many trade secrets rather than patents.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #202 on: April 27, 2015, 10:28:18 am »

And why a good patent won't show how to make something.  In fact, it doesn't even need to work at the time of taking out the patent as all you are patenting is an idea.


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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #203 on: April 27, 2015, 10:46:32 am »

I remember when I worked for Corning Glass many moons ago that the patent on Corelle glass was getting ready to expire, and Anchor Hocking (a big competitor) was posed to market something similar. AH had built a new factory and had the glass making process up and running a year in advance, so on the very day the Corning held patent expired, Anchor Hocking had magazine ads out promoting their own version, and they were shipping product.   

That's why there are so many trade secrets rather than patents.
With nine patents under my belt (the majority work for hire at Peavey) I have no regrets about a patent that runs it's course and expires. That's some 15-20 years to make hay, and come up with another good idea.

When I designed my first automatic mixer at Peavey, Dan Dugan's patent was about to expire, so my choices were to come up with some work-around to not infringe, or wait a little to use the proven algorithm. (I did get granted a patent for an improved AM feature.).

The big drug companies work to extend patent protection, by re-inventing their own drugs with patentable variants, hoping to keep perpetual patent protection.   

While I was at Peavey I would try to talk Hartley out of filing international patents on some of my inventions because the cost vs protection was not very good, not to mention how long it would take. Some of Peavey's japanese patents, issued after the product had already be replaced with a newer model.

I have also had negative experiences where my most valuable patent at Peavey was copied. They even got their own patent for a variation. When Peavey sued them, Peavey was not able to stop them or win any compensation. So the patent and expensive lawsuit was a waste of time and money.  >:(

I have also seen abuses where small companies get put out business by only slightly larger companies with a weak patent but strong lawyers, that the weaker company can not defend against. I almost got involved in one case as in interested third party, but decided to not poke the litigious bear as a weak company myself..  (It cost real money to challenge patents in court, and the results are not always straightforward.)

JR

@Steve.. The patent office routinely disallows patents for perpetual motion machines and the like, while i suspect some obscure cutting edge technologies are harder to vet. Not only must a patent work but by law the inventor is supposed to reveal the preferred embodiment (best way). I have read many patents where the embodiment published is far from practical, but most look like they should work. There is a bit of gamesmanship regarding preferred embodiment, and I've never seen a patent overturned for publishing a less than optimal circuit, as long as it works. The claims language often confounds even me, and I've been reading these for decades. The claims are written in english, but it's another version of english where words take on powerful new meanings. I wrote most of my own last patent, but I paid a real lawyer real money to write the claims section because they matter that much.   
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Steve M Smith

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #204 on: April 27, 2015, 10:52:59 am »

@Steve.. The patent office routinely disallows patents for perpetual motion machines and the like, while i suspect some obscure cutting edge technologies are harder to vet.

Perhaps I worded that incorrectly.  At work, we have patented things which we know will work but we haven't yet worked out the manufacturing process.
A patent needs to be as vague as you can get away with as it will cover any uses you haven't thought of yet - whereas if it is very specific, someone else might have that same alternative use idea and get round your patent.


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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #205 on: April 27, 2015, 11:14:28 am »


Perhaps I worded that incorrectly.  At work, we have patented things which we know will work but we haven't yet worked out the manufacturing process.
A patent needs to be as vague as you can get away with as it will cover any uses you haven't thought of yet - whereas if it is very specific, someone else might have that same alternative use idea and get round your patent.


Steve.

Yes... there is gamesmanship about how much to reveal (as little as you can get away with***). Sometimes the value of a patent is in how cheap and easy the implementation is. I got one patent for adding a diode clipper across the bass boost leg of Baxandall tone control. It was impossible to conceal that best practice. There was only one way to do that, and no way was that not documented in the patent.

I have invested some hindsight into my (Peavey's) unsuccessful patent defense, and am not completely clear on the law. I thought variant (called improvement) patents give the 2nd inventor the right to use the improvement, but does not remove the responsibility to honor the base patent holder. In fact improvement patents are well know strategy practiced by big companies hoping to trade improvement patents in return for access to the original patent. Of course I am not a lawyer and was not directly involved in Peavey's unsuccessful defense, other than write an affidavit about my invention and talk with their "expert" EE witness on the phone, once. I was not impressed by the expert, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the outcome. If I was still working at Peavey I would have personally involved myself into the case, (I could play the expert) but this court case happened years after I quit Peavey so that was not an option. I had to read the court filings on the WWW like everybody else.

JR

[edit] *** it is worth noting that the spirit of the patent system is to publish the invention so others skilled in the art can use it to increase their knowledge and build upon that science to invent other stuff. In exchange for sharing that knowledge the inventor gets exclusive use for a limited time. 

From where I sit the patent system seems to be in disarray with abuses all over the place, but i don't see easy answers as fixes often incur unintended consequences. One supposed fix, to make it easier to challenge bad patents has been abused by stock market short sellers to short a company with a proposed "bad" patent and then cheaply challenge the patent. Wether they win or not, the stock will drop in the short term and they can profit from that.  [/edit]
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 11:22:47 am by John Roberts {JR} »
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #206 on: April 27, 2015, 01:25:11 pm »

I have also seen abuses where small companies get put out business by only slightly larger companies with a weak patent but strong lawyers, that the weaker company can not defend against. I almost got involved in one case as in interested third party, but decided to not poke the litigious bear as a weak company myself..  (It cost real money to challenge patents in court, and the results are not always straightforward.)

Whether patent-related or otherwise, the power of the lawsuit is sometimes used to punish another party even if the other party's defense is solid. For some small companies and individuals with a clear defense where they most likely would win the lawsuit, or even if they DO win the lawsuit, the cost of defense is more than they can bear. Many times they just roll over and settle out of court because it's cheaper. The suing party wins whether they "win" or "lose" the case.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #207 on: May 04, 2015, 02:51:05 pm »

We'll now to veer back on topic...

This weekend I discovered more parts I need to buy. The first relays I bought for this project were only 1 pole so not going to get it done. And apparently I blew up all of my 16a triacs on another project. :-(

So plan looks like 3 pole relay that disconnects power "and" ground from input of power drop. Coil for relay is powered from output side of GFCI so when GFCI trips the relay opens and stay open until GFCI is reset.

[/edit]
arghh.. just pulled the trigger on another $50+ parts order.. relays in small quantity $15 each... I need to get a cheaper hobby. 
[edit]

Start up circuit will use a touch sensor to switch on a triac to jump start the GFCI (in parallel with relay line pole) only if the line input is actually hot.... Once the relay closes the relay will supply power to the GFCI unit. If the outlet wiring is reverse polarity and the line is actually neutral, this circuit will never start up.

TBD with some bench work is if I can do this start up automatically. When the relay is open I can use the output side ground or neutral as a substitute for the touch probe (ASSuming there is enough capacitance to environmental ground, and/or my touch circuit is sensitive enough). This way the GFCI will automatically power up when power is applied. In my last touch sensor I could get it indicate from touching a power drill line cord, so this "could" work. I expect ny next touch circuit to be even more sensitive than that one.

If nothing is plugged into the power drop a finger touch might be required, but if nothing is plugged in it doesn't need to work. :-)

I plan to add a secondary sensor to detect voltage/current in the ground path and trip the GFCI unit if it detects a fault there. So far my best approach shows a worst case sensitivity around 5 mA, so not much better than the GFCI sensitivity , but this will protect against an external voltage/current source feeding the ground independent of the GFCI legs.

If the outlet has an open ground this floating ground will not draw any current so not trip the GFCI by itself. I might add a third circuit where I look for voltage on a floating ground say relative to input neutral and use that to trip the GFCI to remove power.

Neon lamps can provide indication of sundry status metrics.

I still don't feel this is very marketable, but I want to build at least one I can send to Mike to put through it's paces.

JR

PS: Thinking about this more, I think UL might consider different rules for SKUs that have the potential for being operated in the vicinity of multiple mains power branches. Guitar amps and consoles would fit this category. Rather than asking for input grounds to be bonded to carry tens of amps, maybe current limit them with stinger caps. This could be incorporated inside new guitar amps and the like, cheaper than adding external sense and disconnect circuitry.

PPS: Yesterday in my kitchen I felt and measured 109V @ 375uA between my mixer and the wood counter's metal trim strip. I can imagine the mixer leaking some current since the outlet isn't grounded but i didn't expect the wood counter to be such a good conductor to earth. Still more than a factor of ten below my GFCI trip point. :-(
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 01:39:20 pm by John Roberts {JR} »
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Mike Sokol

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #208 on: May 04, 2015, 03:55:54 pm »

PPS: Yesterday in my kitchen I felt and measured 109V @ 375uA between my mixer and the wood counter's metal trim strip. I can imagine the mixer leaking some current since the outlet isn't grounded but i didn't expect the wood counter to be such a good conductor to earth. Still more than a factor of ten below my GFCI trip point. :-(

Yeah, damp wood is a pretty good conductor, and all my POCO guys warn me about loggers cutting down trees that contact 11KV power lines and electrocute themselves. They say to leave your chain saw and run away... run away fast. Then call the power company and let them deal with it.

 
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #209 on: May 05, 2015, 11:54:40 am »

Yeah, damp wood is a pretty good conductor, and all my POCO guys warn me about loggers cutting down trees that contact 11KV power lines and electrocute themselves. They say to leave your chain saw and run away... run away fast. Then call the power company and let them deal with it.
[veer]
The wood inside my kitchen counter tops hasn't been green for half a century. I still do not understand where the resistance path between the counter trim and metal sink is but I measure about 100k there. Just for chuckles I measured capacitance and got around 0.4 nF. (Perhaps 50 years of smutz under the counter.)

My (food) mixer measures 1.2 nF between one leg of the line cord and ground. This capacitance is asymmetrical, only .2 nF on other leg, so outlet polarity could matter for conducted leakage.

I really need to re-wire my house with grounded outlet wiring but that's way too much work...   [/veer]

JR
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Re: brain storm an optimal human safety system for back line
« Reply #209 on: May 05, 2015, 11:54:40 am »


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