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Week 19. Invention, Intellectual Property and Income

This week we learnt about the life cycle of invention, IP, and income etc.
This week’s assignment is to develop a plan for dissemination of our projects. At the same time, we’ll need to make a draft of our final project presentation and video and put them into the root directory.

Here is the slide for my final project.

And here is the link to the video of my final project.

Knowledge learnt this week

  • Science The Endless Frontier is a very famous report written by Vannevar Bush. It created the idea of government-funded scientific research and led to national science agencies.

  • The importance of a productive ecosystem: it enables people to incubate ideas, and then make transition into commercialization.

  • Patent types:

(1) utility - something that does something (a grant of 20 years)

(2) design - how something is designed, how it looks, how it presents (a grant of 15 years)

  • the standard thresholds for patenting is 3 tests:

(1)novel: to show that it’s new and nobody has done it before;

(2)non-obvious: to show it is not an trivial change and it’s obvious to everybody that it’s an advance in the field;

(3)useful: to have values.

  • Patents have life-cycle costs: need to pay fees to keep up in the life cycle.

  • The patent doesn’t protect you, it only provides you rights to access to the court system. There is no patent police, you have to go to court to defend yourself.

  • Copyrights comes for an original authorship, including fiction. Almost anything you make in the lab can be copyrighted.

  • The copyright gives you your lifetime plus 70 years to protect your work.

  • Type of licenses:
    (1) open source: open source is not the same as free.
    (2) Creative Commons

(Types of CC licenses, image credit: Wikipedia)

(Seven Regularly Used CC licenses, image credit: Wikipedia)

(3) GPL
(4) LGPL
(5) BSD
(6) MIT/X11
(7) Apache
(8) fab

  • Income
    A lot of the business activities did not start with a goal of earning money.
    The vision of making changes and the culture of how you work drive for business growth.

  • The source of income:
    (1) sell products or kits that can be assembled.
    (2) sell consumables that will be used in the process.
    (3) licensing - an example is ARM.
    (4) advertising - Google as an example (they do not charge for searching but by advertising)
    (5) platform - iTunes as an example
    (6) infrastructure - AWS as an example
    (7) services

  • What drives the commercialization is pain, not vision.

  • Types of businesses:

  • for-profit businesses:
    (1) sole proprietor
    (2) partnership (3) limited liability company (4) corporation
  • non-profit
    Non-profit does not mean there is no income, but means no net income, and there are no shareholders.
  • hybrid of for-profit and non-profit.

  • Methods to fund your businesses:
    (1) Traditionally it’s done by venture capitalists through several rounds.
    (2) incubators
    (3) angel funding
    (4) friends and family
    (5) crowd-funding
    (6) bank loan
    (7) purchase commitment

  • Almost all business plans fail when it hits reality.

  • Partners of the Fab Network

There is a great connection with partners in the network, including some of the parters that I’ve known for years, such as HAX. And I am very happy to see my company Seeed Studio listed here. Can’t wait to grow together with FabLabbers around the world.

Plan for my project


For all my works during Fab Academy 2019, I decide to open source it, I will provide the software and hardware for other to use freely and they can use the files to replicate one project or work on better versions based on my design.


For my work during the Fab Academy 2019, most of the weekly assignment serves as an aim for me to experiment and learn new knowledge and skills and the final project aims at upcycling, to turn the plastic bottles into a new form of life which adds values to the office/home environment. I do not expect to get any income from this project. I’d like to encourage people to recycle plastics and other materials in our daily life and turn waste into wealth.


Apart from sharing my works on the Fab Cloud platform, I also intend to share it through other methods, including:
(1) Seeed Project Hub, a project-sharing platform which is a collaboration between Seeed and Hackster.
(2) Chaihuo x.factory website and WeChat official account, which will have a larger Chinese readers/audience.
(3) Host workshops at Chaihuo x.factory to teach people how to make a similar one if there are interests.

Intellectual Property

This work by Violet Su is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.