I’ve written before about the risks of building on various Internet platform APIs (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.) — many SDK agreements let the platform copy anything they want, while you have no recourse.
I just learned about a similar example in the hardware world. From Stratasys’s licensing agreement:
Customer hereby grants to Stratasys a fully paid-up, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable right and license in, under, and to any patents and copyrights enforceable in any country, issued to, obtained by, developed by or acquired by Customer that are directed to 3D printing equipment, the use or functionality of 3D printing equipment, and/or compositions used or created during the functioning of 3D printing equipment (including any combination of resins, such as combinations relating to multi-resin mixing, color dithering or geometrical resin-mixture structure of the resin) that is developed using the Products and that incorporates, is derived from and/or improves upon the Intellectual Property and/or trade secrets of Stratasys. Such license shall also extend to Stratasys’ customers, licensors and other authorized users of Stratasys products in connection with their use of Stratasys products.
In simpler terms, if (a) you own a product subject to this license, and (b) invent something related to 3D printing, Stratasys and all of their customers have a right to use your invention without paying you.
(Technically, it says that your invention must incorporate, or be derived from, or improve upon their IP. Given the breadth of their patents, they will argue anything in 3D printing meets this test. They also include “trade secrets”, which are, well, secret.)
I’ve seen some audacious licensing agreements, but this one takes the cake!
Thanks for the heads up on this!
It appears to be necessary to add protections against user agreements like this in the constitutions of every State of the US.
It should be illegal for a company to claim ownership to anything without a valid written contract that is first reviewed by an attorney and signed into.
This is technically illegal as the company assumes ownership of the individual by virtual of the individual using said company product and through the user agreement.
It’s no different than: “If you see my face, you agree to be my slave.”, and you can believe that the customer is not informed of the pertinent information prior to the purchase of the product. This fact, in all likelihood will find the claim illegal.
Fortunately, a just judge will rule in favor of the user, not the company.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of unjust judges on the bench these days and such a case would have to go to the Supreme Court to be declared unconstitutional.