Getting started with aftermarket automotive component design (IP)
Too much of a general discussion feel to this to post in Hardware Development, even though that is kind of what this is about.
I have an idea about something I want to create. I think it is a good idea. I would like to design, engineer and build it. I think it would be a versatile, exciting product. I have a fair amount of experience working with the elements of the project, and the aspects I lack experience in, I have spent a good amount of time studying about and have demonstrated to my self the aptitude to learn about in a relatively short time (coughprogrammingPICscough).
I have spent much time working on the idea, crunching out equations, researching, and sourcing. I feel I have neglected the politics and procedures required to put this into motion. There is some fear involved for me. I feel like the second I really make an investment the OEM and Established Aftermarket will smite me down with the twitch of its collective pinkie finger. I probably sound like a paranoid, delusional, backyard inventor. Oh, well….What’s that?….did you hear that? :shocked:
Hear are some questions I have decided to ask to ease the voices in my head:
1.Can someone (else, not me) patent and have sole rights to methods of controlling equipment. Example: Let us say I wanted to build an engine controller that replaced factory ECMs. OBDII and relative legislative issues aside, could I. The engine is someone else’s intellectual property (IP) and the ECM is probably part of a larger total design that is someone else’s IP. And perhaps, because the engine is as it is, my methods of controlling it might appear very similar to the OEM’s. I do not have the benefit of all of the testing data that the OEM had, so in all probability, my unit will not be as good as the OEM’s, but it offers new functionality not included in their’s. And, perhaps this unit could be programmed to work with any of several different engines and vehicles.
Am I in trouble?
2.I have seen methods listed on publicly shown patent applications (applied by the ‘Big Boys’. Can you patent the use of science as it applies to controlling machinery? If they used Q=mc(Tout-Tin) and a few others and added them up, used Temp sensor inputs and solved for an output in their control algorithm, am I likely to lose a lawsuit for using the same ‘correct’ way of solving the problem?
3.Do established, or up-and-coming aftermarket companies ever successfully (and legally) obtain some of that useful test data for older models from the OEM suppliers (i.e. Delphi)?
4. How could someone safely shoot a flare up for a like minded, capable, interested, trustworthy parter-to-be without opening themselves up to losing their idea. Does anyone know where a good, generic non-disclosure, non-compete form can be found on the internet?
I’m not designing a new multi-car ECM. And I don't think this will 'cure cancer' but this illustrates a parallel case nicely.
I believe in the open source philosophy to some degree. I surely appreciate it. But I've been looking for a project that will allow me to take part in the automotive aftermarket industry, and one day work for myself.