What do the layout patents from NFC cover?

owliwar

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Reading through this patent, the 3 piece design is integral to the claim of this patent correct? It is not just patent of a layout, it is how the layout is held together.

The figures go into depth of showing how the chassis is put together.
Exactly my take.
agreed, the patent is very specific to josh work. its not as broad as some of you are making it looks like.

None of the examples cited here infringes on josh patent. just saying.

English is not even my first language, read the patent again slowly and you'll note that the key elements to this patent is in part how the chassis is put totheter, but also the side that the gpu is facing. said riser didn't was used in a case in this way prior to that I believe, the kind that allowed the gpu and cpu cooler to face the same direction, and a lot of other specifics but this is enough to invalidate the mentioned examples I believe.

Honesty I'm worried how much of a witch hunt this turned out. and as aichon said,
It seems to me that he simply wants to ensure he’s protected after the encounters he’s had in the past, and I can’t blame him for that.
 

Necere

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read the patent again slowly and you'll note that the key elements to this patent is in part how the chassis is put totheter, but also the side that the gpu is facing. said riser didn't was used in a case in this way prior to that I believe, the kind that allowed the gpu and cpu cooler to face the same direction, and a lot of other specifics but this is enough to invalidate the mentioned examples I believe.
it does specify that:

The two PCI expansion slots 20A and 20B are horizontal in orientation and on the same plane as the I/O interface aperture 21. Uniquely, they are rotated so the PCI key is flipped 180 degrees from "normal" server design--or PCI "A-side" orientation. This flipped orientation will be referred to as "B-side" orientation in this document.
But then also goes on to say:

In another preferred embodiment, the PCI expansion slots are oriented A-side instead of B-side. While some server chassis do this for network cards, the design described herein is the first and only chassis (currently) to do so with the intent of housing a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) (not shown) and the first and only chassis to pair this with a Mini-ITX specific chassis/computer case. The reason for this orientation and layout is to gain the benefits of the maximally efficient cooling with the vertical orientation of the chassis, while allowing the use of PCB PCIE "extender" boards (not shown), which provides a cost advantage over alternative extender board formats.
Am I wrong in thinking this covers both B- and A-side orientations? Because the latter would cover all those other cases I mentioned.
 

owliwar

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Am I wrong in thinking this covers both B- and A-side orientations? Because the latter would cover all those other cases I mentioned.
I guess you do have a point, although I'm not certain it would cover. the examples you mentioned are still different enough and most of them contains a chassis fan. this patent explicitly describes the absence of the chassis fan as well as the chassis construction method.
 

Josh | NFC

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I would guess that people are making the assumption that money changed hands after @K888D mentioned that they were licensing said patent.

I would be interested to hear from @Josh | NFC though. Assuming he doesnt mind talking about it (and i would understand if he didnt wish to disclose), why does he hold these patents, what are his goals in having them, does he make any money licensing them. Perhaps some clarity around goals and motives would contribute towards steering this conversation in a productive way towards the wider issues faced by indie creators when trying to deal w/ both protecting their IP, trying to make sure they respect other peoples IP and defending themselves when larger vendors leverage their own IP against them. Its an aspect of doing business in the indie case scene that isnt talked about alot but that also seems pertinent to basically everyone looking to sell product.
I have told my story here and in my YouTube videos. The patents were part of a greater portfolio when I was in a LiveStreaming startup. We were bullied by silicon valley newcomers with big backing. Our ideas and talent was stolen, and we were even attacked with fraudulent lawsuits just to slow us down and burn our money. We met Angels who helped us file for some patents surrounding our business which we had invested so much time and money in. It wasn't enough and it was too late and our company folded. I got to keep one of the patents and went on to develop the product into a consumer chassis which was my personal dream and inspiration for my work with that company anyway. My goal always and forever will be to defend myself from fraudulant lawsuits or at least speed the process along in getting them thrown out.

I have been a staunch defender of Necere and Dan. I have praised their work, their contribution to SFF, defended them at the cost of my reputation when they were being cloned and not properly attributed. I have sent customers to them when their products were a better fit than mine. When Necere's M1 was attacked by a YouTube celebrity who also is a good friend in a facebook group I immediately came to his defense and it cost that friendship. I considered it a great honor to be on the same storefront as two titans that sell 10x + more units than me in a year. I have no idea where this hostility from Necere is coming from. I am completely and utterly devastated that two people who I looked up to would treat me this way and make accusations against my character without any proof.

Kevin (Laser3D) approached me about working together. He is incredibly talented and a super nice guy and I am honored for the chance to work with him. I have said many times before that innovators on this forum need to build each other up and work together or we will be crushed by big name case manufacturers who don't care about quality or personability. Unfortunately all I see here as of late is division, division, division. Licensing at the end of the day, is mutual. Patent trolls seek settlements. Licensing usually involves trading technology, expertise, distribution, and opens the door for more ideas and products to be shared. It also means that the licensee is covered where applicable against fraudulent lawsuits. I hope Kevin and I because of our partnership will have exciting new stuff to show to MINI fans in the near future.

So hopefully this gives some people something to go off of as far as the attacks on my intent and character. As far as defending or describing my patent on a forum to people who think it is invalid because they don't like it...why? Armchair lawyer to your heart's content. You all can attack my work all day long as far as I am concerned. I'm just devastated people who I thought were my friends would attack my character and intent publicly with no proof and even worse, without trying to understand the situation. Attack and divide...

I'm sick from this drama. Literally, physically ill. I'm going to take a break from SFF and won't be around to answer any questions. Hopefully those of you who are my friends will at least give me the benefit of the doubt.

Peace to all, especially between Necere, Dan, and I. I hope we can heal from this event quickly.
 

Necere

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I have told my story here and in my YouTube videos. The patents were part of a greater portfolio when I was in a LiveStreaming startup. We were bullied by silicon valley newcomers with big backing. Our ideas and talent was stolen, and we were even attacked with fraudulent lawsuits just to slow us down and burn our money. We met Angels who helped us file for some patents surrounding our business which we had invested so much time and money in. It wasn't enough and it was too late and our company folded. I got to keep one of the patents and went on to develop the product into a consumer chassis which was my personal dream and inspiration for my work with that company anyway. My goal always and forever will be to defend myself from fraudulant lawsuits or at least speed the process along in getting them thrown out.
I was aware previously that you had filed for a patent on your work, but that wasn't something I had much of an opinion about. If you needed it to defend yourself against bigger players, fine. If that's all it's ever used for. Where it crosses the line for me is specifically when you start collecting royalties from other people based on that patent. As I've said, it creates a bad precedent for all of us and IMO is unethical.

I have been a staunch defender of Necere and Dan. I have praised their work, their contribution to SFF, defended them at the cost of my reputation when they were being cloned and not properly attributed. I have sent customers to them when their products were a better fit than mine. When Necere's M1 was attacked by a YouTube celebrity who also is a good friend in a facebook group I immediately came to his defense and it cost that friendship. I considered it a great honor to be on the same storefront as two titans that sell 10x + more units than me in a year. I have no idea where this hostility from Necere is coming from. I am completely and utterly devastated that two people who I looked up to would treat me this way and make accusations against my character without any proof.
As I've said to you in PM, this isn't personal. I have nothing against you personally. This isn't about your character, and honestly I don't have a lot of patience for these attempts to redirect the discussion in that direction.

My objection is to what I perceive as an unethical use of a patent. Address that, and please leave your appeals to emotion out of the discussion.

As far as defending or describing my patent on a forum to people who think it is invalid because they don't like it...why?
This is a cop out, frankly. You keep trying to redirect the discussion to your character and making appeals to emotion, and attempting to garner sympathy for yourself, while avoiding discussing the actual issue. Address the concerns that've been raised, please, or expect that myself and others will continue to consider your actions unethical.
 

Kandirma

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Sep 13, 2017
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Here's my position, just so it's clear to everyone:
Fractal Design Node 202, Silverstone RVZ01/RVZ02, Zaber Sentry, or any of a number of other cases.

IAMNAL - but in general Patents are not that broad, regardless of how they're written All of the cases you mentioned -and in fact even the S4M - are not covered by this patent.

This patent is very specifically for a case designed to have the GPU facing the same way as the CPU using a flexible riser.That is ALL this patent could cover - any case using a PCB riser or other riser that does not have the ability to orient the GPU in the same direction is a completely different matter, and AFAIK Silverstone actually had the patent to that, as well as a 90 degree mobo rotation before they recently expired.

It does mention in a prefered method having the orientation of other cases however.
 
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Necere

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Patents are not that broad. All of the cases you mentioned -and in fact even the S4M - are not covered by this patent.

This patent is very specifically for a case designed to have the GPU facing the same way as the CPU. That is ALL this patent could cover - any case using a PCB riser or other riser that does not orient the GPU in the same direction is a completely different matter, and AFAIK Silverstone actually had the patent to that, as well as a 90 degree mobo rotation before they recently expired.
Are you sure? What about the passages I quoted above?

Regardless, it's still a patent on a layout, which shouldn't be acceptable.
 
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loader963

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In hindsight maybe this thread should have stayed locked. A month ago the clone issue came up big time, which was very divisive, but this thread is something else.

From trying to explain what a patent pertains to was one thing, but going all the way to a witch-hunt for a “hypothetical” misuse of a said patent and then attacks on a member’s character is a bit much. I do believe calling someone unethical is an attack on their character.

And while that owner’s patent “could” be defended against any other members here, rightly or not, i don’t know of or have seen any instances of it. I also don’t believe speculations on rumors consisting of C&D, royalties, etc count as any sort of evidence unless coming from a first party experience.
 

Kandirma

Trash Compacter
Sep 13, 2017
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Are you sure? What about the passages I quoted above?
I'm not a lawyer, and certainly not a patent lawyer, but in general yes. Patents are very very very hard to defend because they are very specific - there's a reason trade secrets are the prefered way to protect things if it is something that can't just be reverse engineered at a glance. This - now largely deleted - thread is actually a good look at just how specific patents can really be.


Regardless, it's still a patent on a layout, which shouldn't be acceptable.
In a community like ours, I'm not inclined to disagree. This patent was filed long before the community was what is is today - and when the only people really making cases for re-sale were big players. 5 years ago was a very different time for SFF - as you should know very well given the M1 can largely be attributed to the success of later attempts to crowd fund cases.

In industry it is standard practice to protect your design so it can't be easily copied and prevent others from just undercutting your R&D efforts. There is a reason Silver stone had a patent on the 90 degree rotation, or Asetek has a patent on their coolers. Those are also 'just a layout', but they largely attribute to their unique identity and success at different points in time.

From an enthusiast modder community's perspective is not the same as business - and this was filed well before that enthusiast modder community was in the swing of what it is today specifically making cases for others. This patent would not have effected anyone creating a case 5 years ago (for themselves) since they weren't going to resell them unless they were a business.



I
And while that owner’s patent “could” be defended against any other members here, rightly or not, i don’t know of or have seen any instances of it. I also don’t believe speculations on rumors consisting of C&D, royalties, etc count as any sort of evidence unless coming from a first party experience.
This is actually another good point. For a patent to be valid - and for josh to defend against a 'big player' he would have to actively go after anyone who he knew of was using his patent, you can't pick and choose.

If he lets someone use his patent without paying a royalty (even if it is just 1$ per 1000 cases) - the patent itself is AFAIK effectively void. You can't selectively enforce it.
 

Necere

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From trying to explain what a patent pertains to was one thing, but going all the way to a witch-hunt for a “hypothetical” misuse of a said patent and then attacks on a member’s character is a bit much. I do believe calling someone unethical is an attack on their character.
Listen, I don't do witch hunts. Josh has ample opportunity to defend his actions in regard to this patent, but as of yet he has not presented any argument that directly addresses the concerns I've raised.

As far as character attacks - I've said that the action of employing a patent to collect royalties appears to be unethical. I'm only judging the action here as I perceive it; if I'm wrong, I'm happy to be corrected. Ultimately, yes, the action reflects on the person, so in that sense I'm judging his character. But the proximal judgement is against the action.

I also don’t believe speculations on rumors consisting of C&D, royalties, etc count as any sort of evidence unless coming from a first party experience.
My objections are not based on rumor, but on K888D's explicit statement:

If this concept is taken forward the patented parallel GPU/motherboard layout will be properly licenced from Josh Sniffen (aka @Josh | NFC ) which has already been discussed and agreed.
 

loader963

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Don’t get me wrong bro, I’m glad you defend people’s rights to help build new projects and prevent restrictions on people releasing new concepts in cases. I think that’s a good cause. I just think it’s unfair to say he is unethical to get a patent back in the beginning . And he did list an examples where he can or has used that to defend himself. I’ve seen a few posts in the custom cases section where people were “inspired “ by him and all he asked for was his work to be noted in their inspiration for their concept. Hardly the aggressive patent defending warrior we see in so many other places in the business world.

As far as @K888D post, I had taken it as a collaboration between him and @Josh | NFC . If there were some hurt feelings or such, I haven’t seen them here. I wouldn’t be against hearing his side of it, but I had thought they had a friendly endeavor
 

Necere

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@NecereI just think it’s unfair to say he is unethical to get a patent back in the beginning
Let me be clear here, because you're actually misrepresenting what I've said: the action of collecting royalties on this patent appears unethical; I did not say that filing for the patent itself was unethical. It may well be a bad (i.e. indefensible and bad for the industry) patent, as I described, but I did not make any judgement one way or another about the ethics of the patent itself.

And he did list an examples where he can or has used that to defend himself. I’ve seen a few posts in the custom cases section where people were “inspired “ by him and all he asked for was his work to be noted in their inspiration for their concept. Hardly the aggressive patent defending warrior we see in so many other places in the business world.
Defending oneself isn't the issue, and I'm not actually very concerned that Josh will start enforcing his patent to collect royalties from people. I want to be very clear on this. My concern is that if layouts are patentable, as appears to be the case here, then what's to stop some big player coming in and effectively shutting us all down with a patent? What if someone offers Josh a bunch of money for his patent and he takes it? It sets a worrying precedent for the industry, and that is my biggest concern.
 

NateDawg72

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The only thing I'd like to add is that I don't think we should take the patent being licensed as a statement that money is being exchanged, unless one of them explicitly says money is being exchanged. If they already did that then I apologize, I missed it.
 
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loader963

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Let me be clear here, because you're actually misrepresenting what I've said: the action of collecting royalties on this patent appears unethical; I did not say that filing for the patent itself was unethical. It may well be a bad (i.e. indefensible and bad for the industry) patent, as I described, but I did not make any judgement one way or another about the ethics of the patent itself.

Defending oneself isn't the issue, and I'm not actually very concerned that Josh will start enforcing his patent to collect royalties from people. I want to be very clear on this. My concern is that if layouts are patentable, as appears to be the case here, then what's to stop some big player coming in and effectively shutting us all down with a patent? What if someone offers Josh a bunch of money for his patent and he takes it? It sets a worrying precedent for the industry, and that is my biggest concern.
Sorry I misrepresented you but that was how I read it. I didn’t mean to intentionally do that I promise you. As for your fear, I think that would be scary. I also do believe that it would be tough/impossible to enforce, but that’s another matter.

To me, it is just another “what if” scenario that may or may not happen and even so, the problem still wouldn’t be with Josh but how our government has such stupid legislation regarding patents.
 

Necere

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The only thing I'd like to add is that I don't think we should take the patent being licensed as a statement that money is being exchanged, unless one of them explicitly says money is being exchanged. If they already did that then I apologize, I missed it.
Yeah, that's an assumption on my part, and probably one I shouldn't make. It may well be a bad patent, but if he's not profiting off it, then no harm no foul I suppose, and I can withdraw my accusation that it's unethical.

But the question of whether or not Josh is collecting royalties is immaterial to my primary objection, which is to do with the obtaining of legal permission which licensing implies, and again, the potential can of worms that opens up.
 

Necere

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Sorry I misrepresented you but that was how I read it. I didn’t mean to intentionally do that I promise you. As for your fear, I think that would be scary. I also do believe that it would be tough/impossible to enforce, but that’s another matter.

To me, it is just another “what if” scenario that may or may not happen and even so, the problem still wouldn’t be with Josh but how our government has such stupid legislation regarding patents.
Well, again, it sets a bad precedent. And remember that a deep-pocketed player can easily sink a small player with a legal challenge, regardless of whether they ultimately win a case.
 
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loader963

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Well, again, it sets a bad precedent. And remember that a deep-pocketed player can easily sink a small player with a legal challenge, regardless of whether they ultimately win a case.
That is a fear of mine, but there is also a fear of bigger companies that actually can “rip off” a small guys designs. And that’s one reason I actually give props to him for getting a patent. Most peeps don’t realize the guys in our CC section or other nooks in the internet aren’t really making any real big money. They don’t have the infrastructure the big players have. But there are several unscrupulous corporations that have/do/ and will take others ip and use it for themselves that can actually do real damage to a small individual. A patent can help fight that as well.
 

jho

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Mar 28, 2018
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If I understood right, the patent specifies** that the expansion card has to be GPU. Someone can make a similar case and put a cool looking sound card facing up and it would not be against this patent.

**I'm not a native English speaker so correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Windfall

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Well, again, it sets a bad precedent. And remember that a deep-pocketed player can easily sink a small player with a legal challenge, regardless of whether they ultimately win a case.
Okay, I have to side with Josh here. Do you approve of all the Ncase M1 clones, or other cases that copy that layout?

If Josh hadn't patented this layout, other companies would have destroyed him with superior marketing and the ability to drop costs.

Remember that Josh's S cases are the ORIGINAL SFF luxury cases. They really started all this.

And, Josh stated somewhere, that his licencing rates were very reasonable, and probably nearly nonexistent if for a small run case (less than 20).

And lastly, please keep in mind the investment Josh has in this, and what he has done in the community.

I really hate the fact that first there's this Clone drama, and now this "NFC Patent drama". Stuff like this is for Reddit.
We should be more civilized than this.

Windfall