Well I did speak to Rene the owner of Fossil Crete today and I must say that I don't think that I have ever spoken to a more ambitious man.
I specifically asked him many questions regarding his letters to the manufacturing community and what his position and plan in regards to artisans like myself.
I started the conversation off by telling him who I was and what I do for a living and about my online school. I also shared with him that I have been sculpting vertical decorative concrete (VDC) for the the last 11 years or so and have my own mixes and inventions for tools.
I asked him what exactly his goal was in regards to his patents.
Hes responses were impressive.
After several minutes of conversation I began to formulate a question that narrowed it all up to a head.
It was something like this:
....So you purchased a company that had several patents in the works and because nobody has patented a system or method for vertical concrete you feel that the industry at large has infringed on your patent.
His reply was yes. Anyone manufacturing a bag mix owes him his cut because he has purchased patents that are so vague the entire and I mean entire industry is now infringing on his newly acquired patents.
So I began to stretch the boundaries of the text found in the letter. I asked him if museums and zoos would have to pay tribute because of the decorative concrete that is being used , or I should say the process or system.
He was very clear that ANY VDC application is an infringement of his patents. I then stated that there are hundreds of artisans all over the world that have created vertical decorative concrete for over 5 decades with basic contentious mixes and his 2004 patent was a technicality vague and was passed by examiners who do not understand the industry.
He stated that his research showed that there has been VDC from the early 1800's.
My statement went something like this......
So because you were able to acquire some patents that somehow passed examination you will take credit for all VDC.
I then asked if he would go after the Home Depot, Menards, Lowes and other home centers for selling cementous bag mixes that can be used for VDC. That statement gave moment for pause and he then said he had not thought that far out yet.
I then asked him about the tools used in VDC. Once again all VDC is covered under his patent and is an infringement against his patents.
In all fairness he stated several times that he wasn't trying to shut anyone down, he just wants his cut.
He did mention companies by name that he was after because they were the "major" players violating his patents.
When I was finished and the conversation was over I thought of how many other industries I could do the same thing to...
Nobody has patented how to milk a cow and then drink the milk with or with out the cream. I can submit a diagram with my hands wrapped around cow utters and describe the up and down motion combined with the vigorous squeezing so forth and so on and seek out a patent for all technologies and advancements for this entire industry. If by chance I get it then I can pursue the entire dairy industry for my cut on their infringement of my patent.
Of course it may take a while for me to drag everybody to court for actually drinking my "system"
This is of course absurd and will only hold up in court if the patent holds. Seems like a big chance and a major aggressive move from the owner of Fossil Crete.
Even after many angles of questions....if a cementous mix is used, if the sub straight is vertical, if it is textured or imprinted and colored for effect......it violates his patent. End of story and he is serious.
I can't wait to see what happens.
Will the government uphold a vague patent for system, and allow attorneys to get rich off of the ambitious?
Will the industry bond together and flood the patent office with letters filled with white powder?
Will artisans make public their own mix designs and laugh as the manufactures try to sell their "patent infringed" over expensive bag mixes?
Will the producers and manufactures of sand and portland have to pay tribute to Fossil Crete?
Will the Lord himself have to pay tribute because his creation is in violation of a patent applied for some where?
I don't know.....but this is all exciting. As creative as I am I don't think I could have dreamed this one up.