Designed a guitar, now I'm going to protect it

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by BeeTL, May 13, 2009.

  1. BeeTL

    BeeTL Silver Supporting Member Vendor

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    Please note: Post #1 is dated is 5/13/2009...a lot of my initial plans changed through the course of the thread.

    Over the last few months I’ve been working on a few different build projects.


    In the midst of that I designed a new headstock and a new body shape.

    I’m at a point where I believe these may have some long term value, so I’ve made a big decision:

    I’m going to protect my designs.

    I’ve been in touch with a patent and trademark Attorney, and I have started the process of applying for patent and trademark protection.

    Over the next few weeks and months I’ll document the process and some of the recent case law that got me interested in pursuing this process.

    In the mean time, here are the designs:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  2. bsteff666

    bsteff666 Member

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    As I posted before....I think those are both killer designs. Very nice!
     
  3. backdrifter

    backdrifter Member

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    I like the "bottle opener" headstock shape, very cool! Congrats!
     
  4. j_m_s

    j_m_s Member

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    Awesome! These look cool.

    Hey, now you can use the headstock to open beers...
     
  5. Nobster

    Nobster Member

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    Nice. Is there an upgrade option from bottle-opener to corkscrew for us in France?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  6. Jimi D

    Jimi D Member

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    I dunno... I think you'll find that you're body design actually belongs to someone else...

    [​IMG]

    Now, ianal, but isn't the point of a trademark to protect a design from copiers? Do you really think someone's going to copy a design with zero market penetration? And, if I understand the law correctly, even if someone did copy your wildly popular designs, as long as you can show prior art on your part and intent on the part of the copier, you can apply for and have your trademark applied retroactively, or at the very least from that point forward... Lastly, if anyone else can show "prior art" - ie: can find any examples of anyone, ever building a guitar or bass with a headstock or body shape like yours - your trademarks are worthless anyway, n'est pas? In all honesty, though I do think your designs are really cool, hiring an Attorney sounds like a bit of a waste of money to me...

    Just sayin... :JAM
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  7. Mr. Bertha

    Mr. Bertha Member

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    Love the designs, and I rarely like new designs. I'm not 100% sure patent or trademark are really the right avenue to take. For cosmetic matters such as body shape and headstock shape, copyright is the appropriate protection. Patent is what you want if you've developed a new technology. Trademark is what you need for your logo and brand name.

    If I recall correctly, copyright has the added benefit of attaching as soon as you create the thing you're copyrighting. In other words, you already own the copyright, you just haven't registered it. To add to what jimi d said, you can register copright retroactively. If someone does use your design, you will have to register and demonstrate your prior art before you can take them to court. You don't lose rights by failing to register.

    Good luck with that design!
     
  8. Tonealicious

    Tonealicious Member

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    Good god man, don't show the world what has yet to be protected!;)

    Some jerk will steal it!
     
  9. ecbluesman54

    ecbluesman54 Member

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    Headstock looks great! Very nice.
     
  10. BeeTL

    BeeTL Silver Supporting Member Vendor

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    Let me address a few ideas here:

    1. I should have said ATTEMPT to protect…there are no guarantees

    2. I am pursuing a DESIGN patent, not a UTILITY patent

    3. I am pursuing a TRADEMARK application as well

    4. The application and legal costs are not prohibitive, at least initially

    5. As I understand it, I have one year from the date of public disclosure to pursue the DESIGN patent, so I haven’t lost the rights to my work by posting here, but the clock is now (has been) ticking

    If you’d like to read up on how to LOSE trademark status for your design, there is some interesting reading here:

    http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91162497&pty=OPP&eno=13

    Again, I look at this as an opportunity to learn and possibly protect an idea that MAY have some long-term business value…who knows?

    The worst case scenario is that I will have a tax write off for 2009.

    As a matter of interest, here’s a fun one to take a look at, Patent D169062, filed over a year after the model was in production:

    http://www.pat2pdf.org/patents/patd169062.pdf

    And, believe me, I know the world has changed a little since 1952.
     
  11. GreenKnight18

    GreenKnight18 Member

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    That guitar shape looked like an Albert Lee to me as well.
     
  12. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    The headstock looks a bit like a Ruokangas Mojo:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Antelope

    Antelope Member

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    That guitar is really cool looking.
     
  14. WoodyTone com

    WoodyTone com Member

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    Patent attys are usually super-expensive -- a fact they often assume you know. Such patents are only worth your ability to enforce them, and as in most legal proceedings "he who has the most money wins." Still might be an interesting process.
     
  15. Smakutus

    Smakutus Member

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    It's also part Electra Outlaw bass:

    [​IMG]

    Jeff
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  16. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

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    Youv'e already posted this over at the tele forum and you have not taken their advice about keeping it to yourself.
    It's too late for a patend, now that you've made it public domain by posting it on 2 forums.
    It's also (imho) too much like a couple other guitars I've seen.

    don't mean to be a party pooper but...
     
  17. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Very nice, I like this.

    However it is real close to a Chinese made Tele copy we've seen a lot of which is marketed in Europe.

    Do a search on the words "bottle opener" and "whale" at the Tele forum and you should be able to get the thread to pop up.

    I generally am slow to accept new designs, but I like your Tele headstock.

    Good luck.
     
  18. PFCG

    PFCG Member

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    First act has a bottle opener headstock as well, good luck.
     
  19. danieldanger

    danieldanger Member

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    FIRST patent, THEN post publicly.

    but yeah, that body looks similar to some older guitars ive seen, which might render your patent kind of useless in actuality.
     
  20. BeeTL

    BeeTL Silver Supporting Member Vendor

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    Again, I’m posting this for information and because I know more than a few people will find the process interesting, regardless of the outcome.

    Also, I suspect some people might not pursue protecting an idea because they are intimidated or think it’s too expensive, so I hope this thread will help provide more clarity in that area.

    All of the USPTO forms are online, so there’s nothing to say that you HAVE to use an attorney.

    For the do-it-your-selfer, here’s a link to the USPTO “Where do I start?” page.

    That said, I’m using an attorney because he is a friend and is also very reasonable in his approach and fee structure.

    As to why I would want to pursue protecting my design, there are really two reasons:

    1. I don’t want to infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property and risk being shut down

    2. If this develops into something of value over a period of years, I’d hate to think I had really screwed up by not spending a few extra bucks up front.

    So here’s the update for today:

    If I hadn’t posted my designs previously, my attorney would have advised against posting them immediately prior to pursuing a patent.

    However, it turns out in this case that posting the designs WAS A GOOD IDEA.

    WHY?

    Because we now know that pursuing a DESIGN patent would likely have been a waste of money.

    As it turns out, there are existing designs that I was not aware of that might have rendered my design un-defendable from a patent standpoint at some point down the road.

    It’s possible I could have pursued have been awarded a design patent only to have it be worthless.

    AM I DISCOURAGED?

    Nope.

    We still have other avenues to pursue, and we’ve eliminated one potential dead-end VERY early in the process.

    This is a GOOD thing.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009

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