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This question is about a physical product, where a part of the functionality is patented. I would like to recreate that product for educational purposes. I won't sell it.

I guess I'm fine with "just recreating it for personal use". If I take this one step further and create plans or some tutorial material to recreate the patented functionality, can I get into trouble?

I have read this question, which is about recreating and doing tutorial videos about something that is copyrighted and/or trademarked: Leagalities of recreating a website design but not using publically

Specific case: Found a furniture design with a elaborate folding mechanism. This mechanism is patented. I would like to build my own furniture with that mechanism. It looks baffling at first, but I'm sure that everyone with a little technical background can figure out the function of the mechanism just by looking at photos and videos on the designers homepage.

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  • You can also read the patent. The published patent is legally required to "teach" a "person having ordinary skill in the art" how to make the invention.
    – user71659
    Jan 9, 2023 at 23:56

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A patent grants the holder exclusive rights to make, use and sell the patented item. As such, you can look at the patented object, you can document it, you can study it, you can draw up plans for it. A patent cannot be granted unless the applicant discloses what exactly is being patented. So you can get all the details of a patent from the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office).

You cannot, however, make one without infringement unless you have permission, usually a license, from the patent holder.

Now I am not in any way recommending this but as a practical matter, if you, as an individual, were to make such a piece of furniture incorporating a patented feature for your use, how would they know? There are no "patent police" going from door-to-door looking for infringers.

On the other hand if you were to begin selling copies of this piece at your small shop, that might come to the patent holder's attention and they might take action against you.

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