I wonder why no lawsuits over modeling / profiling?

aldridt1

Member
Messages
190
Just genuinely curious.......

I kind of assume that lawyers have probably looked into it. I am surprised the amp companies are not insisting that models and profiles be licensed, or something of that nature.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
13,893
You can't copyright a tone ! You can only copyright the actual circuit and the name, neither of which the modelers use. Note in my mustang for example, they name the fender models by thier actual name because they own them. But the marshallmodels for example, "british 80's", "british 70s", etc.
 

CapnRex

Member
Messages
1,059
If a company makes an amp model called Marshall or Fender then I believe they would technically be liable unless they say "not endorsed by..." or "model of" or something that shows it is not actually trying to pass off a product as though it is an official one by the amp maker.

A profile would probably be more difficult to find liable as it is more like making a record and stating you use a Marshall amp - it's just the sound as it comes out.

Not a lawyer, but I have some experience in contract writing and legal risk management - if it were my company I would look into tge appropriate language needed for labeling amp models.
 

mattball826

Member
Messages
20,814
Many disclaimers in manuals, websites, etc.

Digitech mods used to freak out at Sound Comm when users posted Mesa Boogie or Marshall presets with amp company in the name. Then they did the same with Artist names. Try my Marshall EVH patch!! Double whammy lol

Not that Marshall would waste lawyer fees on a case of end users claims to having a sound that is Marshall endorsed.
Over time, it didn't matter. End users classify products how they want. Modeling co's just need the disclaimer.
 

-Empire

Supporting Member
Messages
5,970
Probably for the same reason horse and buggy manufacturers couldn't sue Henry Ford.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,121
It's an interesting thought. Perhaps the modeling world is so small there isn't enough money in it. I wonder if the modeling companies that copy a circuit design in an algorithm are liable for design infringement, much in the way tube amp companies in the past were dinged by Mesa for copying their early Mark amp channel switching. And what will Alexander Dumble do with the crystal lattices and software copying his topologies?

On copyrighting or trademarking a sound; didn't Harley-Davidson have some sort of protection on the "potato^2" sound of their bikes?
 

Watt McCo

Member
Messages
10,290
If modelers/profilers are tempting fate by copying the tone of an amp manufacturer via different technology, then so too are physical amp makers that build amps that sound like that of another manufacturer. Surely Ceriatone and Mojotone and all the other "clone kit" amp makers run the same risk as the modeler/profiler folks if it is merely the sound produced by the device that can be protected as intellectual property. And Mesa runs a risk for all of its "Fender inspired clean channel" tones, etc.

Harley Davidson applied for a Trademark on the sound made by its engine; that application was opposed by lots of folks for obvious reasons and after loads and loads of litigation, Harley just withdrew its Trademark application rather than continue pursuing it.

Trademarks are all about a consumer being confused about who makes the device they are about to buy. I'm hard pressed to see how a consumer would be confused that it was plugging into a Marshall JTM 45 when plugging into a Kemper simply because one of the tones it may produce sounds like a Marshall JTM 45.
 

ELmiguel

Member
Messages
3,675
Probably because nobody wants to admit that some profiler sounds exactly like their boutique amp.
suing a corporation takes a lot of money
most boutique amp builders don't have deep pockets
the laws don't allow them to protect their products

then there are the Marshall inspired, Fender inspired, Vox inspired boutique builders
the laws don't allow the big 3 mfg's I just mentioned to go after these boutique builders unless there is a trademark violation

so, unfortunately for the few gifted designers who come up with something unique that people discover and like and start buying
they are going to see years of hard work and lots of R&D money wasted when someone comes along and rips them off (copies them)

Surely Ceriatone and Mojotone and all the other "clone kit" amp makers run the same risk as the modeler/profiler folks if it is merely the sound produced by the device that can be protected as intellectual property. And Mesa runs a risk for all of its "Fender inspired clean channel" tones, etc.
Ceriatone copies the circuits exactly ( or as close as they can), comes up with cute names that let you know exactly what the circuit is, and builds in Malaysia.
I don't think they worry about USA laws. Especially since the ship their amps here in plain boxes directly to the buyer and don't sell at retail outlets

It's funny, I've owned 3 different Mesa amps and never thought the clean tones sounded "Fender inspired". I've owned Fender amps as well.
I know that people say that they sound that way to them
I think it's because Randall Smith first modded some Fender Princetons before he developed his own design
I think they sound more Marshall clean actually
 
Last edited:

Watt McCo

Member
Messages
10,290
suing a corporation takes a lot of money
most boutique amp builders don't have deep pockets
the laws don't allow them to protect their products

then there are the Marshall inspired, Fender inspired, Vox inspired boutique builders
the laws don't allow the big 3 mfg's I just mentioned to go after these boutique builders unless there is a trademark violation

so, unfortunately for the few gifted designers who come up with something unique that people discover and like and start buying
they are going to see years of hard work and lots of R&D money wasted when someone comes along and rips them off (copies them)



Ceriatone copies the circuits exactly ( or as close as they can), comes up with cute names that let you know exactly what the circuit is, and builds in Malaysia.
I don't think they worry about USA laws. Especially since the ship their amps here in plain boxes directly to the buyer and don't sell at retail outlets

It's funny, I've owned 3 different Mesa amps and never thought the clean tones sounded "Fender inspired". I've owned Fender amps as well.
I know that people say that they sound that way to them
I think they sound more Marshall clean actually
Mojotone works out of North Carolina. Your point on Mesa is exactly why none of this is ever going anywhere: "I know that people say they sound [Fender-like] to them I think they sound more Marshall clean actually" Good luck finding a group of 10 consumers that can hear a sound alone and say "oh, yeah, if I heard an amp making that sound I would DEFINITELY think it was made by company-X and not possibly by any other manufacturer."
 

scook

Supporting Member
Messages
3,451
You can't copyright a tone ! You can only copyright the actual circuit and the name, neither of which the modelers use. Note in my mustang for example, they name the fender models by thier actual name because they own them. But the marshallmodels for example, "british 80's", "british 70s", etc.
You can't copyright the circuit either (hence the goop on Dumble internals), only the schematic or PCB layout.
 

rumbletone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,580
If someone designs something that is truly novel (and meets the other criteria - like being useful and non-obvious), they can get a patent - as many in the MI business do, including Mesa, Fender, Quilter, Blackstar, Peavey, Freyette, Egnater, etc.

Many inventors choose not to invest in seeking patent protection, which is their choice. But please don't say that laws don't protect them - it only doesn't protect them if they are not doing anything new OR they don't wish to take the steps that others do to protect their IP.

And yes there are costs to obtaining and enforcing IP rights, but just like rent, labour, electricity, etc. they are costs of doing business, and it's the business owner's choice whether or not to incur the costs.



suing a corporation takes a lot of money
most boutique amp builders don't have deep pockets
the laws don't allow them to protect their products

then there are the Marshall inspired, Fender inspired, Vox inspired boutique builders
the laws don't allow the big 3 mfg's I just mentioned to go after these boutique builders unless there is a trademark violation

so, unfortunately for the few gifted designers who come up with something unique that people discover and like and start buying
they are going to see years of hard work and lots of R&D money wasted when someone comes along and rips them off (copies them)



Ceriatone copies the circuits exactly ( or as close as they can), comes up with cute names that let you know exactly what the circuit is, and builds in Malaysia.
I don't think they worry about USA laws. Especially since the ship their amps here in plain boxes directly to the buyer and don't sell at retail outlets

It's funny, I've owned 3 different Mesa amps and never thought the clean tones sounded "Fender inspired". I've owned Fender amps as well.
I know that people say that they sound that way to them
I think it's because Randall Smith first modded some Fender Princetons before he developed his own design
I think they sound more Marshall clean actually
 
Messages
1,701
I had the opportunity to ask Randall Smith about his thoughts on modeling last year. He said he was mixed, that he didn't like the idea that others were taking years of a real persons work to create a new amp and profiting off of it without respecting the source. He mentioned how early modelers used real names (I think he was alluding to Line 6) for amps and then would market that to their advantage. Then think about how accurate those early models were (ick my today's standards) and I could understand how that could actually misrepresent the real product!
Now of course we have funny names for amps and "inspired by" so consumers know that's not necessarily what Mesa thinks a Mesa should be in any particular modeler.
Randall also said it was interesting partnering with IK for an official modeling product, and he acknowledged that modeling has advanced to the point where it is extremely accurate, but he said don't expect Mesa to bring out its own line of digital products in the future.
 

Jay Mitchell

Member
Messages
5,648
Many inventors choose not to invest in seeking patent protection, which is their choice. But please don't say that laws don't protect them -
I'll say it: in a practical sense, the laws don't protect them. Holding a patent gives you the right to sue. It says nothing about the results of a suit.

And yes there are costs to obtaining and enforcing IP rights,
What you left out is that, after paying all the costs, the patent holder may still lose. If the defendant's pockets are deep enough, they can stall until the plaintiff either dies or goes broke. There are many examples of this. Holding a patent affords minimal protection. It is far more often used as a marketing tool or to beat up on a smaller competitor than as protection for IP.
 
Last edited:

iim7V7I7

Member
Messages
128
It is far more often used as a marketing tool or to beat up on a smaller competitor than as protection for IP.
Yep. A barrier to entry, to protect marketshare. BigCo and CoBig cross license patent portfolios, to protect revenue streams, and file against entrants lacking portfolios worth cross licensing.
 




Trending Topics

Top