Aquaponic Gardening

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As aquaponics grows ever-more commercialized, with the additions of kits, how will we keep ourselves from "stealing-peoples-ideas" (the quotation marks refer to the fact that nobody owns aquaponics) .  I'm thinking of selling shelf-ponics, after I do a million other things, but the "inventors" are the people at gardenpool.org. How would I give them credit, or if someone wanted to sell strawberry towers. Should someone simply mention how to build one on their website, and/or simply mention who thought-up the idea? I hope this gets resolved before suing happens, if it's an issue of course. (this emotocon is for fun

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Is it really appropriate to "sell" shelf-ponics when gardenpool has already made the info available to anyone who wants it for free?  Or are you talking about going and buying all the parts and building them and selling complete turnkey systems to people?  Is that service really needed?  Or is it more appropriate for someone who is going to run the system to actually get the experience of building it for their self?  It isn't like it's that hard nor is it like you will manage to make much profit that way so I'm not sure it's likely to be that big of a deal.

 

I would just recommend you contact Garden pool and ask them for permission and see how they wish to be credited for their idea.

A complete kit system. (sorry I was not clear) Basically to people who can't for some reason build one themselves, time or otherwise. Also If people can build it on their own I want them to. But, contacting them would probably be the best. Directly  selling other peoples ideas ie, selling the guide , is horrible, but how would you credit it for a kit-system?

TCLynx said:

Is it really appropriate to "sell" shelf-ponics when gardenpool has already made the info available to anyone who wants it for free?  Or are you talking about going and buying all the parts and building them and selling complete turnkey systems to people?  Is that service really needed?  Or is it more appropriate for someone who is going to run the system to actually get the experience of building it for their self?  It isn't like it's that hard nor is it like you will manage to make much profit that way so I'm not sure it's likely to be that big of a deal.

 

I would just recommend you contact Garden pool and ask them for permission and see how they wish to be credited for their idea.

Well how would you be selling it?  In a shop packaged in a box?  Or on the internet?  Either way, there is ample space to put a link to the garden pool website and give them credit for the idea as well as providing a link to the info for those who wish to build one themselves.

Ok, so someone would put the url on their and contact for otherwise? As for me I'm still thinking about even selling a kit. Also diy is probably the cheapest option and since nobody will get rich off-of aquaponics the mission will be to spread aquaponics.

In any case I think that for any system that's similar to another that's being sold should have how it's made, such as strawberry towers.

What should be put would be up to the people you are giving credit to.  How they want to be credited would be up to them and if they don't want your using their ideas or terms to market your "kits" then you would be stuck searching for other ways to market whatever you are going to sell.

Give credit to the originator of the idea if known. Look up Intellectual Property Rights for more info on using other people's ideas. 

 

As far as building the systems for resale (If anyone wants to buy them) unless you copy the design of someone that has a patent on the product, you are pretty much safe. With aquaponics using recycled or re-purposed items in construction most of the time your chances of infringing on patent rights are very slim. But copying a product like the growbeds that Sylvia sells that are manufactured for the intended purpose will more than likely get you in hot water.

 

On the other hand if you have made any significant changes in design you could probably get a patent of your own. Just changing the color would not be enough. In any case the profit margin would probably not be worth the effort.

 

If you have improved upon the original idea then you have equal rights to your improvement. Just give credit where credit is due.

 

Disclosure:

I am not an attorney and all statements are from my own research and should not be considered legal advise. Any party that use said advise does so at their own peril and not hold me or any party that publishes these statements liable in part or whole.

 

PS If I was an attorney you be receiving a big fat bill within three business days.  

I find this discussion very interesting.  We obviously replicated Friendly Aquaponics' system with their full permission having attended one of their commercial trainings and are now affiliates for them providing that same training.  However, we modified their design a little to be more applicable for our needs and know that many have copied our design with no credit referenced to either us or Friendly.  We paid for our education and are continually amazed at how many approach us that expect and demand(literally this happened again just this past Friday) that same information for free when they want to start a commercial system.  We share a lot and any of you that know us, know that we are very open source.  However some people call or email repeatedly wanting information and think that attending one of our free tours is somehow a cart blanche for more information.  I explain to them that any good, useful educational material solicits a price and it is not fair to those that pay for it, for those that don't to receive the same.  Really it is no different then paying for an education for any other industry.  I don't know why some wanting to get involved in aquaponics think this is any different.  Would one decide to become a pharmacist without expecting to have to pay for that education?  I know there has been some discussion about why people should pay for any aquaponic training or information when so much abundant info is available at your fingertips.  It is simple, if you have the time to wade through the abundance for free then do it.  If you want to streamline your education, eliminate the potential of misleading or incorrect information out there, seek out a reputable source that has proven to be successful. 

 

We want aquaponics to proliferate and realize that intellectual property rights in our field are a touchy matter , but giving proper credit would simply be the 'right thing' to do if you copy someone else's design or get advice or help from them. 

I totally agree.  If you need to ask some one for the information, you are taking up their time.  It's kinda like insisting that they take the time to publish a book for you but insisting they give it to you for free!  They had to pay to get the training and information but you want them to spend their time and money to now give it to you for free?  This is especially rude to do when you are asking it of people who are busy trying to make a living from a commercial aquaponics operation.  Their time is limited and they use it to make a living, asking that they give it to you for free is essentially asking them to loose money so you can have it.  A commercial operation would be totally justified in keeping the details of their operation proprietary so the fact that they are willing to give tours for free and provide training and manuals for a price is completely reasonable.

 

In addition, commercial system information, well it isn't so much the basic design, if you have the know how to manage the system, you could get the basics by visiting.  The real problem is if you are asking for the info on a commercial design for free, you are probably going to continue to be an ongoing drain on their time because you also didn't get the education to operate such a system so you will continue to call them up asking for advice on the things you should have gone to the training to learn.

 

As to copying a design idea.  Well, I Provide Travis Hughey's Barrel Ponics Manual for free according to his conditions of use

This document, in part or in its entirety, may be copied, reproduced or adapted to
meet local needs
without permission from the author or publishers, provided credit is given to
Travis W. Hughey.
These provisions apply only provided the parts reproduced are distributed free or
at cost – not for profit.
Travis W. Hughey would appreciate being sent a copy of any materials in which
text or illustrations have been adapted.
For reproduction on commercial basis, permission must be first
obtained from Travis W. Hughey.
Any commercial or for sale application of the Flood Valve technology is strictly
forbidden without prior approval in writing from Travis W. Hughey.
Travis W. Hughey can be reached at aquaponic70@yahoo.com .


I don't see much profit in actually building barrel ponics for sale since I believe the experience of constructing such a system is the primary benefit of such a system. But If I were to try to sell anything for profit from his design, I would definitely contact him for permission and conditions.

By extension, I would contact Garden pool to find out how they would wish to be credited if I were to build something for sale from their design.
where is the 'like' button in here??  :D
LOL! Like!!!

Just my two cents worth here.  Being the first to design something is completely different from having a patent out on something. Take barrelponics or the Affnan siphon for instance.  If it was not fully and comprehensively (or provisionally)patented prior to letting anyone know about it (this includes designing it on a non-isolated computer or building a prototype within sight of anyone) an average patent lawyer will shred any attempt to prohibit others from using the design.  They can even call it the same thing.  Gentlemen's agreement seem to be much bigger in AP as most people tend to build their own thing and there is not an enormous market for kits - The Aussies put it at 80% DIY and 20% kit.  Also, even if you have a patent for your country, and it is not international as well, anyone in a non-covered country can copy it and sell it in your back yard. 

 

There are only so many ways to build aquaponic components and taking off the shelf stuff and putting them together in a logical manner will never be given a patent.  Someone over here tried to patent a flower discovered growing wild and came terribly second.  I made my siphons from original thought, only to download a pdf from a Hawaiian institution with near identical designs a year later.  Cutting a barrel in half or slicing slits into a 4 inch pipe is not IP.  Buying a whole lot of PVC components and gluing them together the way the manufacturer intended is also not IP.  Anyone can logically do that and no-one can stop them from doing it.  I have seen many things I made in my back yard show up here in pictures of other guys that obviously had the exact idea for the same problem.  If a person changes the dimentions of a raft, moves the position of the outflow, changes a bit in the configuration here or there it is technically very difficult to go after them.  I have friends that have given up on patents because of this.  You end up making lawyers rich and yourself poor.

 

Aquaponics seem to be growing and developing rapidly from group efforts such as this forum and as such, most of the ideas thrown around here is already impossible to patent as there is a digital record of the conversation in cyberspace.  If someone wants to do something commercially, as a kit supplier for instance, it is very likely that he will be able to come onto this forum, look at all the pictures, look the concepts up to see how they are protected, and then put together kits to sell containing all your hard work and head scratching.  The reason why this is unlikely is that currently, the market is not worth it.  It may take 8 months for a distiller to find a bottle shape that has not been patented, but in terms of AP, there is almost nothing that is off limits from my perspective.

Aquaponics is not new, but the interest in aquaponics is growing exponentially, as indicated by the following Google Trends report. Those of us who are considering profiting from this trend, are called to review our means and motives through the lens of ethics. I'm glad that this topic is being discussed.

And as for unique ideas, if you quickly look at the following picture, you would think that it's a basic diagram for a media based AP system. If you look closer, you'll see that it's actually a diagram for a wastewater treatment system. Many of the components and design concepts found in recirculating aquaculture systems, the basis for aquaponics, were researched and developed by the wastewater treatment industry. How much credit should be given to the pioneers of this industry? It gets complicated doesn't it.

 

 

 

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