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Can my DIY project be sued for copyright? Copyright

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by Kralik, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. Kralik

    Kralik Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Let's say I have a computer and I've designed it's case around some Apple computer (just the design / exterior). The design (exterior) does not feature any logos of said firm, it is just the shape. I do not have any intentions of selling that, it is just one piece that will stay with me, but, what if I:

    1. Want to share it online? And the caption would be something like "I've built this computer". I've built everything here by myself, but what about that design, can it be a problem?

    2. What about some competitions? Is it worse than sharing it online?

    In both cases, can there be a problem? Can (in this example) Apple sue me?
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    What state?
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    The answer to a "can" question invariably has to be "yes" because it denotes the ability to do something, not whether it's right or wrong or winnable.

    If you are infringing on somebody's patent or copyright for your own personal purposes, keep it to yourself. It's when you display your offense on the internet or in public is when trouble can descend upon you.

    Even if a lawsuit is unwinnable, it doesn't stop anybody from filing one.
     
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  4. Kralik

    Kralik Law Topic Starter New Member

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    That makes sense, thank you.
    So this raises a question, if it is a common thing, that companies sues individuals for their non-profit DIY work, based just off their patents (or look)? For example, I found a video on Youtube, where people are remaking an Apple product, even with their logo and many others, where people are doing this kind of thing. So, technically, if I want to avoid any kind of potential lawsuit, don't share it anywhere, but this doesn't seem to happen, or am I missing something?
     
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    If the shape is one that matches one of the iconic Apple computer designs (e.g. the original iMac) it may indeed be protected by a copyright due to its unique artistic appearance. Apple also asserted design patent protection and trademark protection for the look of those computers. So copying very unique looks that instantly are recognized as Apple designs can be a problem. Trying to sell such a product would very likely draw the attention of Apple's legal team, and even distributing copies of it extensively may be a problem. That could be very expensive for you. I doubt very much that you'd run into problems with just your one model that you keep at home, however.
     
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  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    This question is somewhat unintelligible and rather vague. I assume your use of an apostrophe in "it's" was a mistake, but what does "I've designed [its] case around some Apple computer" mean?

    Despite your use of a question mark, this sentence is not a question. If you intended a question, I cannot discern what you intended to ask.

    Caption of what? Also, are you saying that you built an actual computer? That's not what the first sentence of your post implied.

    I would suggest that you google "trade dress infringement." That will probably give you all the general information you need.

    Huh?

    Is what worse than sharing what online?

    I don't know what "both cases" means, but anyone can sue anyone for anything.

    Non-profit? "Common"?
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Your chances of being sued for what you are doing are about the same as your chances of being in a plane crash. But, like a plane crash, an infringement lawsuit can be devastating were it to happen.

    That others may be infringing with impunity doesn't make it right.
     
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  8. Kralik

    Kralik Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks, that is very helpful.
    I attached a picture of my device for clarification. We could say that the Mac Pro 2013 is an iconic shape, though. My only concern was if I can post it online - "hey, look what I've built! And spend 2y building it", without getting into trouble, especially any lawsuit. And if no, if there is a way to prevent it e.g. putting some kind of a disclaimer.

    Thank you very much.
     
  9. Kralik

    Kralik Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay, are there any ways to potentially prevent this? like for example some kind of a disclaimer. "Design inspired by..."?
     
  10. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    What state? Is this in the United States?
     
  11. Kralik

    Kralik Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Czech Republic. Is it that important on a web?
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Nope. Disclaimer's don't mean anything to the owner of a patent, copyright, or trademark.

    No. A company like Apple is quite capable of suing people anywhere on the planet.

    Bottom line: It's up to you to decide if self-aggrandizement is worth the risk, small that it is.
     
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  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, actually it is. If you're in the Czech Republic, any lawsuit against you will be based on Czech law, which no one here knows anything about.
     
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  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Very important, despite what Jack says. Each country has its own intellectual property laws and while many countries use similar concepts the details do differ. So where the potential infringement occurs matters very much. This site focuses on law in the US; you'd need to find a place that handles Czech law for information about what is protected in that country.
     
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  15. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Personally sued, yes would need to be in his country.
    However, if he sells his goods in the US, he can very much expect to find his stuff confiscated at the border, especially with one of the heavy-handed giants like Apple involved. Ask OneBuds about their ear bud shipment.
     
  16. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    My point was that being in the Czech Republic wouldn't insulate OP from a lawsuit.
     

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