Based on these two questions:
- Could a charity manufacture patented medications for free?
- Can I build something for personal use if it is patented?
I suspect that the answer will be no, but I want to ask anyway just to get it directly.
I hope to keep it more general than this, but for example:
There is a conceptual design for a loudspeaker that is easy to manipulate in a simulator and gives impressive theoretical performance...and is patented by someone else. The owner sells finished products exclusively to the very high end of the professional market (if you have to ask, you can't afford it), and hobbyists have built their own designs using that concept for their own living rooms, claiming that the owner has given blanket permission to hobbyists for their own personal use.
I've also seen someone with the owner's name on public hobby forums, who explains it in deep technical detail, and all of his posts are many years old now.
Taking a cue from the hobbyists, what if an engineer/carpenter team were to design, build, and install one specifically for a non-profit organization where they both volunteer already?
(the engineering and labor are donated, and the organization buys the materials)
What if I were to design and build one myself to use in my own rig for profit?
My understanding of the purpose of patents is to prevent the loss of revenue caused by someone else undercutting the inventor, probably because the someone else doesn't have to make up the expense of inventing it. In that framework, and given either of the situations above, it would certainly be a violation to sell it, because that customer might have bought it from the owner instead if there wasn't a cheaper option.
But if the available budget clearly does not allow purchasing from the owner, and thus the owner would not have had a sale anyway (we'd use a different design that is available more cheaply), is it okay to make one (or several) personally or in-house for personal or in-house use, with the caveat that it is illegal to sell until the patent runs out?
Of course, we can't outsource the work because it would mean that they would be selling to us and thus violate the patent themselves. It seems to me that it must all be done in-house, to even have a chance. So does that chance exist?
It might seem like several different questions, but it's really the same question several different ways.
Nor am I asking if it's okay to violate in a particular situation. I'm asking if the action in that situation IS a violation.