Commercial use of a (self-made) open-source project - considerations


I hope to get some insights, thoughts and suggestions on something I'm struggling with. I spent the last year designing a product which is aimed at 'Flyball', a dogsport which I do. Read all about the project on my blog.

I started working on this project right from the start, with the intention of making it completely open source. The product concerned can and will (in my opinion) provide a great advantage to a team/club in increasing their running times, giving them an advantage against other teams in competitive racing. Because of this competitive advantage, I want the product to be open source, to give all other teams the possibility to build their own, and thus have the same advantage as our team has.

Now it's been about a month since I published wihtin the 'flyball-world' the initial articles, introducing the project and stating that I would be releasing all relevant materials (build plans, schematics, source code, ...) over the next months. The reaction I got was really positive, but as I had already feared, I got already a lot of questions from other teams asking me to build a system for them, since they lack a team member or friend which is willing to make the system for them.

I would be willing to build the system for other teams, for a fair compensation of my working hours, but after thinking about it, doing it 'the official way' seems very complicated. The last thing I want is to get into legal/personal problems when doing this, so doing it 'off the record' is no option for me.

So I came here in hopes of getting a clear picture of everything involved, should I decide to commercialize this project. I already have a small company (I'm a self-employed photographer, next to my day job) which I could extend to be able to sell the product through this company. I should mention I'm based in Belgium, which will probably affect the answers to this question, given I have to abide by Belgian/European laws

Here are the points I've thought about which I have no or little understanding on how much of a real problem they could be, and if they are, how best to solve them:

  • Since I would effectively be selling an electronic device, which also uses a 433Mhz remote control, I was told I cannot sell it just like that. It should carry the necessary product approvals (CE,...?).
  • Currently I buy all the required components from China, through AliExpress. Could this pose an issue about the components not carrying the necessary product approvals?
  • Warranty: I would be prepared to grant a 2-year warranty (as is required within the EU). I assume this would be as simple as just doing free repairs if something breaks within the first 2 years after the date of purchase?

I guess I'm missing some other important aspects here... I hope someone who done something similar, preferably within the EU or even better, Belgium, could comment on this.

Thanks in advance! Alex