[Open Discussion] Intellectual Property with Dynamo

Hi All,

I have been using Dynamo (and previously Grasshopper) for the last 2 months during a summer internship. I’m really excited by the number of doors parametric design opens. So far, both software’s success and easy hands-on rely strongly on an active and friendly community. When finishing my project, my company have asked me to look into Intellectual Property Protection of certain Dynamo Files that I created, even potentially functions or custom nodes that achieve very specific tasks.

Hence my open question to the community: is their any regulations of IP for such a collaborative environment ? I understand that it wouldn’t be reasonable to patent each and every custom nodes (or even packages) but to what extent would it be considered legitimate to protect a customized workflow that uses Dynamo ?

I apologize in advance if my question doesn’t make sense, I have no prior knowledge of patent regulation (except maybe the basics, i.e. what it is and how it works). Please share your thoughts and advise, I have been reading documentation online about BIM IP Protection but it hasn’t so far been very helpful.

Thank you all in advance !


I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think it would be something that would be easy to protect legally, as it is built on a framework of free structures, access to Revit API, open source platform, freely available packages etc.

On a more individual note, I think the days are numbered of trying to protect little pieces of code or workflows. They are deliberately easy to exchange and share now, that is what makes the community so good. I think larger pieces like fully custom dlls and connections to 3rd party software may be easier to control. Personally, I’m more interested in sharing than hoarding, but then, I am a blogger :slight_smile:

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your answer, I understand your position, and also personally a believer of the power of sharing. Still, I’ve been ask to investigate. I’m not trying to support any position but rather explore and understand what are other people point of views on the matter. Also to clarify, I think my team was not necessarily thinking about patenting any new custom tool or nodes but more generally the process or product created using Dynamo. I had deliberately expanded my questions.

A parallel that I am thinking is for instance using a coding language: you are not patenting each java scripts or function the you create for yourself (these you would share), but you would eventually protect the ouput of your work: the software, the app, the dashboard, the process, the recommendation engine, the algorithm or whatever it is your are trying to code.

Then again, I’m not a lawyer either, my questions might not even make sense… :slight_smile: Happy to hear from anyone else.

Thanks for your answer !

I would read this:

Basically there are legal tests for what can be patented. Abstract ideas generally can’t be patented. You also generally loose patentability when you share something online, or when you don’t make efforts to keep people from copying your work. You also have to consider that you work may be based on other work that is under a creative commons type license (as mentioned above), which usually invalidates you from creating derivative works that are patentable.

@Thomas_Trinelle Did you happen to patent any of your workflow? Just checking back since I am facing a similar situation :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I used open source packages in my dynamo program. I do not want to patent the dynamo graph. I just look to patent the workflow which will result in a specific output where dynamo is just a part of the process. Can’t believe this topic is still live after 6 yrs.

Just to throw this out there…You can create a series of custom nodes and integrate some licensing under the hood…I have a proof of concept for it… It could be a way to control custom nodes created internally for a company and protecting them from redistribution outside of the organization, but that would also add in a whole new layer of work for the IT department :wink:

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